DHAKA, June 4, 2017 (BSS) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today said the foundation of her Awami League is deeply rooted in soil of the land, binning BNP chief Begum Khaleda Zia's remarks that the ruling party lost grounds under its feet.
"Awami League originated from grassroots . . . BNP is the political party which was founded by a military dictator," she told an Iftar mahfil hosted by Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) and Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) at Jatiya Press Club.
The premier added: "The reality is that a party created by a military dictator does not have any root in people."
Sheikh Hasina said since Awami League's emergence as a grassroots party, it waged a protracted struggle to realize the people's rights, earned independence of the country and established the dignity of the mother language.
"The party (Awami League) has played the pioneering role in leading the nation in achieving success in almost every arena," she said.
On the other hand, she said, BNP was installed in power under military dictatorship through distributing the leftovers of the power.
Secondly, the premier said, other than deprivation and exploitation, BNP could give nothing to the country.
"They had made the country a nation of beggars. People of Bangladesh could realize the necessity of a government when Awami League came to power in 1996, 21 years after Bangabandhu's brutal killing, she said.
Ministers, senior editors and journalist leaders, senior government officials, politicians among others joined the iftar addressed by Information Minister Hasanul Huq Inu, PM's media affairs advisor Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, President of BFUJ Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, secretary general Omar Faroque, president of DUJ Saban Mahmud and general secretary Sohel Haider Chowdhury.
The premier said during the BNP-Jamaat rule even the journalists were barred from doing their professional jobs while they were faced with untold repression and atrocities in the country's southern region particularly after 2001.
Many journalists including Harun ar Rashid, Humayun Kabir Balu, Manik Saha and Dipankar Chakraborty were brutally killed and journalists were attacked even in the Jatiya Press Club which the people of the country did not forget.
"Even the foreign journalists could not avert their wrath," she said.
Sheikh Hasna said Awami League government after coming to power in 2009 has initiated the process for the trial of the killings of the journalists in an identical move to expose to justice the Bangabandhu killers and the war criminals.
Sheikh Hasina said Awami League believes in country's development and the development is possible as the present government is running the country with utmost sincerity and honesty without giving any indulgence to corruption. Mentioning the unbridled corruption during BNP-Jamaat regime the Prime Minister said, "Now they are afraid of appearing in the court".
"Khaleda Zia misappropriated orphans money but now she is trying to put in all her efforts to evade justice . . . she pleaded 146 times for deferring the date of the case or changing courts," the premier said.
Sheikh Hasina surged newsmen to pursue objective journalism as her government believes in freedom of press and ready to accept severe criticism though "journalists didn't have the freedom at the time of other governments.
"Rather it has created scopes for criticism . . . without the private television channels how you would have criticized the government?' she said.
Expressing her government's firm stand against the militancy, terrorism and drug the Prime Minister sought journalists support to curb the menaces. She said the persons responsible for killing innocent people through pouring petrol must be punished.
Pointing out the floating of the largest budget of the country's history in the parliament the Prime Minister said the parliament would discuss different aspects of the budge and look into different observations of the cross section of people.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said many quarters criticize her government in many ways at home and abroad. But they didn't say that her government had created the ways of criticism through allowing many private televisions and radios to air and newspapers to publish.
Awami League opened up the satellite television channel for private sector in 1996 and gave declaration of many newspapers. Now more than 750 dailies are published in the country in addition to booming business of online media.
Referring to the relation of Bangabandhu with newspaper, the prime minister said Bangabandhu started his career with journalism. 'So, I always claim myself as a member of journalist community," she said.
Quoting from Bangabandhu, the prime minister said journalism must have principle as it's also necessary for politics. "Politics sans principle can give nothing to a nation and journalism without ethics is also same. In many case unethical journalism brings harm to the society and people," the prime minister quoted as Bangabandhu told.
The prime minister said her government has already framed the National Broadcasting Policy and the Right to Information Act along with a commission to ensure people's access to information.
The Awami League government, she said, after taking office in 1996 has taken initiative for constituting a welfare trust for journalists. Besides, the government is always extending support to the ailing journalists.
Sheikh Hasina said the government has declared the newspaper as a service oriented industrial sector to support to the sector for its flourishment.
About declaration of the 9th New Wage Board award for journalists and newspaper employees, the prime minister said the government has already taken the initiative to this end, but remained stagnant because of the newspaper owners.
Formation of the wage board would be completed after getting names of the newspaper owners, she said hoping that the newspaper owners would submit the names of their representatives in the wage board to make it functional as soon as possible.
The prime minister said the government has already hiked the salaries of the government employees. So the government also wants newspapers employees to get adequate salary to live on. Many journalists are being paid very low, pushing them into complete uncertainty, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said everybody should remain careful about future of journalists as they always work in stress. Every newspaper owner would implement the wage board award, she hoped.
Laying importance on bringing the electronic media under a policy, the prime minister said employees of electronic media should also be included in the wage board.
The government also working for revival of the Newspaper Employees Services Condition Act, 1974, the prime minister added.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)