The press is finally set to get the status of an industry with the government ready to grant that recognition even as its term draws to a close.
The matter will be finalised next week, said Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu while meeting senior journalists on Thursday.
“If the press is declared an industry, the media will become more active and vibrant,” he said.
The government had initiated moves, the minister said, to create a Journalist Assistance Trust Fund. “A bill will be placed in the next Cabinet meeting and made an Act after approval,” he said.
He said the formation of such a fund would benefit media persons.
The Information Minister expressed concern over a spate of recent bomb blasts in front of media outlets.
“The media can express all kinds of views. This freedom is very important. Meddling in the affairs of the media would be tantamount to interfering with democracy,” he said.
He assured the journalists that the administration would take legal action in connection with the attacks.
The minister said he had held talks with newspaper owners on Saturday on the implementation of the eighth wage board.
He said he would discuss with the journalist leaders the problems and challenges involved in putting the wage board in place.
The minister said the government had offered a five percent rebate on newsprint duty after the eighth wage board was announced.
Advertisement rates had also been raised after consulting the finance minister, he said.
Delegations of the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists and Dhaka Union of Journalists met the minister at his Secretariat office.
BFUJ President Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul said they would place a five-point proposal regarding the wage board in the meeting.
“We won’t accept attacks on the mass media. Some might feel agitated but the reply cannot be bomb attacks,” he said.
The journalist leader urged the government to bear the treatment cost of media persons injured in the bomb blasts.-bdnews24.com