Opinion

Journalists must know their limitations


Published : 16 Oct 2021 09:22 PM | Updated : 17 Oct 2021 12:21 PM

According to Greek philosopher Plato, wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. That means wise men are knowledgeable and have a lot of things to say, out of which people can be benefited. On the other hand, fools try to speak to show that he has also knowledge.

The primary knowledge of journalism is that a journalist has to know that he or she has limitations. He or she can pose a question, but the host may or may not answer it and that is the right of the host. If answered, the journalist may or may not be satisfied with the reply, but the journalist has no right to say that ‘I am not satisfied or I don’t agree with you’. It is the first lesson of a journalist. Journalists have to keep in mind that the host may not allow a journalist in the press briefing if he or she wants. And that is his or her discretion. The journalist cannot question why he or she is not allowed in the briefing.

It is really surprising that Khaled Mohiuddin does not know the primary lesson of journalism. Recently, I was watching a talk show on DW hosted by him, immediately after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s press briefing after her return from the visit to the United Nations. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself feels accountable to the people and the state. She explains all her activities to the President and the people through the press. In that press briefing, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave a patient hearing to the newsmen and addressed all the questions, including how and when the next national election will be held and when Biman’s NY flight will resume. Are not these public concerns? Are not these questions pertinent?


Any talk show anchor must have in-depth knowledge and ideas 

about the news and the topics to be debated. Everyone should 

understand that when something is on air, it is open to all. People 

are watching. Somebody may watch it casually, but there are many 

people who watch with keen interest. You have to keep in mind that 

those who are watching may be more learned, knowledgeable and 

experienced than you


In his talk show, Khaled Mohiuddin, who fled the country like some other so-called journalists who are frequently tarnishing the image of Bangladesh, was asking Professor Golam Rahman why the journalists present at the PM’s press briefing did not say that what the Prime Minister was saying was not true, and that they do not agree with the answers.

As social beings, journalists must have social obligations and they cannot do anything which creates social unrest. I do not know why these people are resorting to falsehood and why they are giving false, fabricated, malicious and untrue views and superficial ideas to the people, creating the scope of confusion among the people and tarnishing the country’s image. They can learn from the country they are living in. Their identity is that they, if become citizens of those countries, are Bangladeshi origin. And they will be judged by the people of those countries that who are they? What morals and ideals do they hold? Wherever you may relocate, you must show your dignity to the people of that community. If these people know more about the ethics and ethos of journalism, they can bring prestige both for themselves and for their motherland. Journalists have to read and learn until the last days of their life.   

Read more: Journalism not just a profession, it is a vow: Hasan Mahmud

Any talk show anchor must have in-depth knowledge and ideas about the news and the topics to be debated. Everyone should understand that when something is on air, it is open to all. People are watching. Somebody may watch it casually, but there are many people who watch with keen interest. You have to keep in mind that those who are watching may be more learned, knowledgeable and experienced than you. Usually, senior-most and most experienced journalists are given the responsibility of hosting talk shows so that the quality and standard are maintained.

 We can remember how people used to enjoy talks show conducted by Larry King, Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer and John King, the iconic figures in CNN talk show. We have a lot of things to learn from them. Understanding news, news sense and the treatment of news, considering the time and places are essential for journalists. And the clear idea about the rights and limitations of a journalist are reflected in their talks.

 People talks in many ways, at many places and on many issues. Seminars and symposiums are the ideal places to talk or give thoughts, ideas and opinions. TV talk shows and social media have been increasingly dominating the world. Once they were really enjoyable, but now they have become a real threat to individuals, people, society and even the government for the anti-social propaganda by some unscrupulous people. These people were dead against digitalisation and when the government of Sheikh Hasina vowed to implement the digital programmes, these people, including the opposition political parties and the anti-liberation forces were jointly talking against the programmes. Now they are shamelessly using the digital facilities for serving their selfish political interest. But the people of Bangladesh are quite conscious. They will not allow them to tarnish the image of the country.


Sharif Shahab Uddin is Editor-in-Chief, Bangladesh Post.

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