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Govt working to create free atmosphere for press: Arafat
  Date : 26-05-2024

Online Desk : State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Mohammad Ali Arafat has said the government wants to create a space for journalists to allow them to work in a free, fair and congenial environment.

"We want to ensure necessary space for all media so that they can work freely to facilitate free journalism and freedom of expression in line with the commitment of our Liberation War," he said, reports BSS.

The state minister said this at the `Meet the Reporters` programme organized by the Dhaka Reporters` Unity (DRU) at its Nasrul Hamid Auditorium on Saturday with DRU President Syed Shukur Ali Shuvo in the chair.

DRU Acting General Secretary Md Mizanur Rahman conducted the event.

The state minister said the fair journalism practices will actually benefit the pro-liberation forces to fight against extremism, militancy and communal politics as well as falsehood and disinformation upon which the politics of anti-liberation forces is based on.

Pointing out the government`s commitment to ensure unhindered free flow of information, Arafat said, a message has already been conveyed to different tiers of the administration that the government wants to apply the Right to Information (RTI) Act more effectively by strengthening the Information Commission (IC).

Noting that lack of information creates the scope of sprouting misinformation and disinformation, the state minister said the government is working to bring necessary reform to allow journalists to get information from government sources within the shortest possible time.

Underling the steps taken by the present government for journalists` welfare, the state minister said, "Bangladesh Journalist Welfare Trust is the real manifestation of Sheikh Hasina`s government to ensure welfare of the journalists.

"We are working with the aim to ensure that the congenial atmosphere for free journalism, free-thinking and freedom of expression as well as welfare of the journalists," he said.

Arafat sought the cooperation of the journalists to preventing any falsehood against the government in the name of so-called criticism saying media must criticize the government if any mistake is done.

"Free flow of information and constructive criticism can help take the society ahead while misinformation can take it back," he said.

The state minister said it is the collective responsibility of the government and media to contain disinformation. The government is fully careful about overstepping its authority while preventing misinformation, he said.

Arafat said the present government is striving to uphold democracy, human rights and press freedom. But, anti-liberation forces are still active in the country which cannot accept Bangladesh and its independence yet.

"Anti-liberation forces are still out to change the definition of our struggle of independence which we have got at the cost of the lives of 30 lakh people and chastity of thousands of women. They want to take back the country to a dark age, opposite to the spirit of our Liberation War," he added.

"Our fight against this evil force will continue and we want unqualified support of the media in this fight," he added.

About the future of the proposed Mass Media Employees (service and conditions) Act, the state minister said the information ministry would consult with all stakeholders soon to revise the existing draft to place it in the parliament again.

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