Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury said yesterday that democracy is being consolidated through flourishing of independent mass media and it is possible to establish ‘Sonar Bangla’ as dreamt by Bangabandhu through giving democracy a firm footing.
“The newspapers which are the members of Newspapers Owners’ Association of Bangladesh (NOAB) have been working relentlessly through publishing objective news. The initiative of giving award to its members by NOAB which passed 25 years is a unique one,” she told a function at Dhaka Club here.
NOAB organized the function to give award to the newspapers which are its members and passed 25 years.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud addressed the function as special guest with NOAB president AK Azad in the chair.
Hasan said that the mass media in Bangladesh are enjoying more freedom than many developed countries across the globe. “The publication of 167-year-old newspaper — ‘News of the World’ — was shut down for publishing wrong information in the United Kingdom. The executive officers of the BBC were forced to resign for broadcasting wrong information about a representative of the House of Commons. But there is no such instance in Bangladesh,” he added.
About Digital Security Act (DSA), the minister said that the act has been enacted to ensure security for all, not for a special group. There was no digital issue couple of years ago, so there was no question of digital security, said Hasan, also Awami League joint general secretary.
“When any person or a journalist becomes the victim of a digital attack, how would he or she get remedy without an act?” he asked.
He said many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, Germany and Singapore, have digital acts, which are similar to Bangladesh’s Digital Security Act.
The information minister said these are only few examples of some countries. “There are provisions of arrests and punishments for such crimes also in many countries. But, like you, I also in favour of remaining careful in using the act,” he added.
About the achievement of mass media, Hasan said that a vast revolution has taken place in the country’s media sector during the last 50 years. “I would like to talk about the last 13 years. There were only about 450 newspapers and 10 televisions 13 years ago in the country. But now there are about 1,250 newspapers and 36 TV channels as the government has given license to 44 private TV channels,” he added.
Hasan said there were few online news portals before 13 years. But now there are hundreds of online news portals across the country, he added.
The daily Ittefaq editor Tasmima Hossain, the daily Azadi editor MA Malek, the daily Karatoa editor Mozammel Haque, the daily Purbokone editor Ramiz Uddin Chowdhury, the daily Bhorer Kagoj managing editor Tariq Suja and NOAB founding president Mahfuz Anam, among others, also addressed the function.