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Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Monday said necessary initiatives will be taken to publish gazette of ninth wage board for journalists by January 28 next.
“From right today I will begin work to get the gazette on the 9th Wage Board Award,” the minister said while exchanging views with leaders of BFUJ, Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists and Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) at National Press Club in the capital on Monday morning, reports BSS.
Mahmud, also the ruling Awami League’s publicity and publication secretary, said he has also discussed the journalists’ housing issue with officials concerned. “I hope that all the problems of journalists and media will be solved soon,” he said.
Mahmud said he began his works from the very first day in office for the betterment of journalists as well as the media as “my top priorities are to work for the welfare of newsmen and freedom of media”.
The minister said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government was always friendly to journalists and even those who wrote and spoke against Awami League got all kinds of assistance from her.
“She helped as well the cultural personalities who are against the government,” Mahmud said.
The minister’s comments came as he visited the Press Club for his maiden interaction with leaders of the journalists unions and the National Press Club since he assumed office on January 8, a day after the new council of ministers were sworn in.
“This is our state … I’m a lawmaker for all, not only of my voters (in my constituency). Our leader Sheikh Hasina is also the prime minister of all people of the country,” Mahmud said.
He sought journalists’ supports in discharging his responsibilities as the information minister recalling with gratitude their assistance in the past as the Awami League’s publicity secretary.
Mahmud expressed the hope that the journalists’ community would take necessary steps against yellow journalism to ensure the media stake as the “fourth state” practicing responsible journalism.
“I think most of the journalists try to do objective journalism … Only few of them are involved in yellow journalism,” he said.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has assured the freedom of media after assuming office 10 years ago. “Now we should become more conscious while pursuing journalism.” “Everyone has the right to criticize the works of the government. But, we expect the criticism to be constructive so that the state doesn’t suffer,” he added.
Mahmud said his ministry would work for Media Employees (Condition of Services) Act and assured the journalists to look into their concerns regarding the ‘Digital Security Act’.
BFUJ President Molla Jalal, Secretary General Saban Mahmud, DUJ Vice President Abdul Mazid and general secretary Sohel Haidar Chowdhury, among others, addressed the meeting.
Later, Hasan Mahmud exchanged views with the leaders of Jatiya Press Club (JPC) when JPC President Saiful Alam and General Secretary Farida Yasmin, Senior Vice President Omar Faruque, Vice President Azizul Islam Bhuiyan, General Secretary Farida Yasmin and Treasurer Shyamol Datta, among others, spoke.
In the meeting, Mahmud assured the JPC leaders that he would take necessary steps to help construct the proposed 31-storey Bangabandhu Media Complex on the Club premises.
He said a huge revolution took place in the country’s media as well as in social media and the “social media is doing well”.
“But there are some issues which will affect our country’s image. We have identified these issues and are working to this end,” he added.
The minister said there are a number of online news portals in the country which needed proper guidance to flourish and “the government is working to make a policy for this sector”.