Journalists must reject lies and protest: Arafat

State Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Bangladesh Journalist Welfare Trust Muhammad Ali Arafat has called upon media journalists to reject all lies regardless of party affiliation.

The state minister made this call in the chief guest’s speech at the opening ceremony of the distribution of checks for the third phase of welfare grant/financial assistance from Bangladesh Journalist Welfare Trust in the financial year 2023-24 at the Information Bhavan Auditorium on Circuit House Road in the capital on Sunday (July 7) afternoon.

At this time, the state minister said that on one hand, Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina’s government will expand the media, increase its scope, arrange welfare trust for media journalists, on the other hand, a group will speak untruths against her in the media, this cannot happen. Therefore, I would like to request the journalist friends of the media, regardless of the party, reject all the lies and protest. You all stand against the propaganda, stand for the truth. Of course criticize the government’s failures. It will be welcomed by the government. But criticism through lies will not be accepted, the truth will be answered.

In this regard Pratiprantri also said that there is freedom to lie in this country. There is freedom in this country to lie all the time as you want. For the past few days, it is being said that the Prime Minister has gone to India, signed a memorandum of understanding, agreed that Indian trains will pass through Bangladesh, sold Bangladesh, ammunition will go from one side of Bangladesh to the other side of India through this train and Bangladesh will become a security risk. . Some leaders of the opposition said these things in the talk show. But in this memorandum of understanding Bangladesh trains will run over India and Bangladesh trains will go to Nepal-Bhutan over India. We have exports worth 50 million dollars with Nepal and Bhutan. No one tells this truth. The MoU envisages importing 40 MW of electricity from Nepal to Bangladesh using India’s grid line. Which will be used by the people of Bangladesh.

Through the Memorandum of Understanding, not only the trains of Bangladesh will run through India’s chest, electricity will also come to Bangladesh through India’s skies. State Minister of Information asked why the media did not make this headline.

In this regard, he further said that it is true that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina signed the memorandum of understanding that Indian trains will run through Bangladesh. But this is half true. The whole truth is that Bangladeshi trains will run over India as well.

The state minister said that the country not only has freedom of expression but also freedom of lying. Anyone has the right to oppose any agreement or memorandum of understanding or decision of the government. But why do you have to oppose by lying, why do you have to oppose by misleading the people? People are being cheated. This is not freedom of expression, it is a crime. However, there are various propaganda against the current government about freedom of expression, freedom of media.

At this time, the state minister also said that Journalist Welfare Trust is an initiative of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, daughter of Bangabandhu. Just as the journalistic society had a close relationship with Bangabandhu, there was always a similar close relationship with Bangabandhu’s daughter. That is why Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina like Bangabandhu believes that to move the country forward, media, freedom of expression, journalistic society and their role are very important. That’s why the government should stand by the journalist society and the mass media. His thinking for journalists is very positive. That is why he has taken such an initiative like Kalyan Trust. This initiative is very helpful for journalism and mass media.

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He also said that attempts were made to criticize Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina’s government and media relations with her, freedom of expression, freedom of media from various levels. But the initiatives of Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina as Prime Minister for the welfare of journalists and media are not heard much. There are no big reports about them. These need to be said in different places, domestic and foreign.

The state minister said that the media has doubled in size in the last fifteen years. Because Bangabandhu’s daughter is media friendly, she not only gave the opportunity for the expansion of the media, but also encouraged the media to expand and created the environment. Kalyan Trust has been formed for the welfare of those working in the media. We cannot emphasize these positive points. The establishment of the Welfare Trust of Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina and the efforts to stand by the journalists who are really suffering regardless of party affiliation through this welfare trust prove that the government of Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina is a media-friendly government. So those who try to spread propaganda against the government of Bangabandhu’s daughter Sheikh Hasina, must respond to the propaganda by pointing out these facts.

The State Minister also added that in the financial year 2023-24, welfare grants of Tk 6 crore 15 lakh 50 have been given to 784 journalists and their families across the country. Recently, 2 crore 22 lakh taka has been given to 293 journalists and their families all over Bangladesh.

Under the chairmanship of Managing Director of Bangladesh Journalist Welfare Trust, Subhash Chandra Badal, special guest speech was given by Farida Yasmin MP, Member of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and President of National Press Club, Trustee Board Member of Journalist Welfare Trust and Chief Information Officer of Directorate of Information. Shahenur Mia and Trustee Board Member and Dhaka Journalist Union President Sohel Haider Chowdhury.

The government has approved Tk 2.22 million for distribution in favor of 294 journalists and journalist families in the third phase from Bangladesh Journalist Welfare Trust in 2023-24 financial year. After its establishment, from the financial year 2015-16, 33,740,000 taka has been provided till March 2024 in favor of financial assistance/welfare grants to the families of 3 thousand 941 journalists who were distressed, insolvent, injured in accidents and deceased journalists.