Govt to ensure protection of professional journos: Arafat

Published : 10 Jul 2024 09:40 PM

State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Mohammad Ali Arafat said the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wants to ensure the protection of professional journalists.

"Our target is to give protection to all professional journalists so that none can suddenly join journalism as wish and make scapegoat professional journalists for their misdeeds," he said.

The state minister was exchanging views with Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) leaders at his ministry's conference room in the Bangladesh secretariat on Wednesday afternoon.

At the meeting, the DUJ leaders placed an 11-point demand, including announcement and implementation of the 10th wage board within quickest possible time, ensuring representation of DUJ at all committees concerned to the wage board, bringing all journalists working at televisions, FM radios and online media under the wage board.

Highlighting the government's different media friendly initiatives, Arafat said the government has no intention to control journalists and media. The exponential expansion of the mass media in the last 15 years is the evidence of it, he added.

If Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led government has any intention to control the media, it wouldn't have allowed the number of media to increase, the state minister said.

"Indeed, we want the existence of a healthy and strong mass media, which will present the government's mistakes and failures," the state minister said, adding, "We don't fear constructive criticism as it helps government correct the flaws. But what we dislike is cheating people and misleading them with falsehood."

Speaking about the proposed Mass Media Employees (Services and Conditions) Bill, Arafat said this act will be a universal law involving all people working in the electronic, print and online media.

It will protect media employees' all the benefits ensured under the labor laws, he added.

About Right to Information (RTI) Act, the state minister said he is working on the proper utilization of the RTI Act.

"We are sending messages to the government officials at the grassroots as when media seeks information on behalf of the people under the RTI Act, you are bound to provide it," Arafat said.

DUJ President Sohel Haider Chowdhury, Senior Vice President Nazrul Islam, General Secretary Akter Hossain, Joint Secretary Shahjahan Mia and Organizing Secretary Golam Mujtaba Dhruba were present at the meeting, among others.