23 May 2024, 19:16

Govt works to create atmosphere for professional journalism: Arafat

DHAKA, May 23, 2024 (BSS) - State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Mohammad Ali Arafat today said the government is working to create a congenial atmosphere in the country for the practice of professional journalism.

"It is necessary to create a healthy environment for practicing journalism in the interest of all. Therefore, the government wants to do this," he said.

The state minister was speaking at the 'Bangladesh Secretariat Reporters Forum (BSRF) Barta', a magazine, unveiling ceremony at the BSRF office in the Bangladesh Secretariat here this afternoon.

There is no alternative to the practice of free journalism to build a democratic and development and pro-people Bangladesh, Arafat said, adding, "I do believe that if we want to build Bangladesh based on the spirit of the Liberation War, mass media freedom must be ensured".

Noting that the freedom of the mass media has already been ensured in the country and it is now marching forward, he said the more media will run freely and professionally, the more spirit of the Liberation War will spread.

Simultaneously, the state minister said, when ill journalism is practiced using freedom of the press as a shield, it not only affects the country, nation and democracy, but also affects the professional journalists.

Pointing that the unhindered media freedom has led to some indiscipline in the sector, Arafat said journalists themselves are now demanding for bringing discipline in the media sector and "we are working to this end based on your (journalists) opinions".

Referring to the Right to Information (RTI) Act, he said the law was passed in the parliament during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government to ensure the free flow of information for the sake of the country's people.

This law has empowered the mass media and the journalists to get information from the government and administrations, the state minister said. However, improvement of understanding between the information seekers and providers is needed, he added.
"Therefore, we are trying to provide training to the journalists on the use of RTI Act by National Institute of Mass Communication (NIMC) to ensure the proper use of the law. Besides, we are also working to bring change in the mindset of the government officials over providing public information," he added.

As much as the law will be used properly, the mass media will be vibrant and the government will be more transparent and accountable, Arafat said, seeking journalists' cooperation over the protection of the country's interest.
Referring to Deutsche Welle's (DW) recent documentary on Bangladesh's human rights issue, he said one kind of disinformation campaign is being carried out globally to tarnish the country's image, which is nothing new.

Mentioning that some people use to divide the media into two - pro-government and anti-government if the report goes in their favor or against their interest, he said, "But the fact is when you brand any media as pro-government or anti government, you actually hamper the press freedom. Rather the mass media should be treated as mass media".

The government doesn't have so many eyes to oversee everything, the mass media works as the eye of the government, Arafat said, adding, "When you (journalists) report on our mistakes and failures, I think, you help the government. The government of Bangabandhu's daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina truly welcomes the constructive criticism."

But if any news is made on misinformation and disinformation, it does not ensure the welfare of the people and the government, rather it serves the interest of individuals or vested quarters, he added.

BSRF President Fasih Uddin Mahtab presided over the function while its General Secretary Masudul Haque moderated it.


  • Latest News
  • Most View