Pursue objective journalism: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday encouraged journalists to write reports based on facts and said objective reporting helped the government to take prompt measures against any sort of injustice.

“Don’t write any report that can misguide the people in the wrong direction. I request you all to pay heed to this matter,” she said, while giving examples of government measures taken after newspaper reports.

“We want neutrality in journalism, reports based on facts, dutifulness towards the country and the nation. Unethical journalism cannot bring any good for any country as it causes harm…let there be no unethical journalism,” she said.

The prime minister was virtually inaugurating the Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU) programmes marking its silver jubilee from her official Ganabhaban residence in Dhaka.

Her Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim moderated the function from the Ganabhaban, organised by the DRU in the Hotel InterContinental.

The prime minister urged journalists to work with responsibility, patriotism and for the welfare of the people.

Quoting Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Sheikh Hasina said: “Politics without principle can’t give anything to the country and the nation. Like that, journalism without principle can’t bring any welfare for the country rather it affects the society in many cases.”

She said reports in the media help the government a lot. “By reading the reports in the newspapers, we stand by the helpless people and take tougher action against the wrongdoers”.

She also requested the journalists to make constructive criticism that will help the government endeavor to build the country as a developed and prosperous one free from hunger and poverty envisioned by the Father of the Nation.

She said the government firmly believes in the freedom of press and has done whatever necessary to this respect.

The prime minister described newspapers as the mirror of society and said: “We want journalism to be realistic and it will reflect the welfare of the country and the nation.”

She called upon the journalists to follow the principles of journalism, quoting Bangabandhu as saying, “Like journalism, democracy has a principle too. We can resolve many problems if we keep the two things in mind.”

She also said her government has been arranging training for the journalists at the grassroots by establishing a training institute mainly to enhance the quality of journalism to cope with the world standard.

In this connection, she said that as many as 30,048 journalists have been trained in the last 12 years by her government.

The prime minister said they have formed Bangladesh Journalist Welfare Trust through which Taka 17.87 crore has been distributed among 5,266 journalists while Tk 3.50 crore was distributed from the PM’s Welfare and Relief Fund.

She said her government has enacted media related laws for the welfare of journalists, adding that her government amended the penal code mainly to stop wholesale arrest of the journalists.

The prime minister also reiterated her government’s zero tolerance policy against corruption, militancy and terrorism, and said her government is determined to take stern action against the wrongdoers in accordance with the law irrespective of their political affiliation.

She said her government has been taking action whenever any injustice or corruption takes place while it was a normal phenomenon to suppress those earlier during the BNP-Jamaat regime.

“When any news appears regarding corruption and injustice, we never think of hiding those rather than go to action. We do not even think that the party and the government will face criticism due to the measures taken against the misdeeds,” she said.

“As the government has been taking action against any wrongdoings, it may seem the Awami League government is committing the corruption. But, this is not true,” she said.

“The truth is that her government has not been nurturing any sorts of corruption.”

Basically, the premier said, the seed of corruption was planted following the assassination of the Father of the Nation on August 15 in 1975.

The governments of Zia, Ershad and Khaleda not only patronized the corrupt elements to create an elite group in society to cling to power but they also engaged themselves in corruption.

Due to the government’s stance against corruption, she said, the opposition has got the chance to write or say that the Awami League government is involved in corruption.

Referring to bringing out processions in trucks with firearms by the militants in broad daylight under the patronization of then BNP-Jamaat government, the Prime Minister said her government has been tirelessly working to eliminate terrorism and militancy from the country.

“We are deadly against the terrorism and militancy,” she said, referring to the success in tackling the Holey Artisan attack within 48 hours though many had thought the government alone would not be able to handle it.

She said her government has successfully been able to drum up awareness among the people against the militancy and terrorism. “It is not possible to achieve anything without support from the commoners.”

Former DRU president and chairman of the Silver Jubilee Celebration Committee Shahjahan Sarder presided over the function while DRU president Rafiqul Islam Azad, General Secretary Reaz Chowdhury, and Organising secretary Habibur Rahman were present on the dais, among others.