Govt remains cautious to implement wage board award: Hasan

DHAKA Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud today said the government will remain cautious regarding the implementation of the ninth wage board award so that the journalists could be benefited.

We have already taken initiatives for the betterment of mass media . . . these initiatives have put media in order mostly, he said, addressing the inaugural function of annual sports competition of Bangladesh Crime Reporters Association (CRAB) at the Sagar-Runi Auditorium of Dhaka Reporters' Unity (DRU) here.

The minister said many newspapers are taking rate card from DFP without implementation of the wage board award. Many declared that their newspapers' circulation is around 1.50 lakh though it is actually 5000 only. They do it only to get benefits. There is no reality between their declaration and the actual circulation, he added.

I've decided to bring order in those media . . . the government has already asked the NBR to know the actual circulation of those newspapers, said Hasan, also the publicity and publication secretary of Awami League.

He said discipline should be brought in the circulation of newspapers and there cannot be any ghost circulation.

CRAB Vice President Mizan Malik, journalist Shah Newaz Dulal, CRAB former president Madhusudan Mondal and DRU former general secretary Razu Ahmed, among others, addressed the programme while CRAB President Abul Khayer was in the chair.

The minister said a big revolution has taken place in Bangladesh's media sector during the Awami League regime under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheik Hasina.

Along with the flourishing of the industry, Hasan said, some problems have been created, including the fall in the advertisement and its rate in media. Now the industry needs combined efforts to sustain, he added.

The minister said, I'm working relentlessly for the betterment of the journalists after taking charge of the ministry. But I need all out supports from all stakeholders. It's our responsibility to give protection to the journalists as they are the mirror of society.

He said airing Bangladeshi advertisements in foreign channels has been stopped. Besides, the cable operators are maintaining the serial of the Bangladeshi TV channels as per their on air date. After keeping Bangladeshi channels, the cable operators are keeping the foreign channels on the list, he added.

The minister said Bangladesh is moving ahead indomitably under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The growth rate of GDP is the highest in the world which was 8.16 percent in the last fiscal year. The government is taking different plans to increase the rate in the current fiscal, he added.

Pointing out the applause of many world leaders for Bangladesh's remarkable progress in different socioeconomic areas over the last ten and a half years, the minister said Bangladesh has exceeded India and Pakistan in many key economic and social indicators.

Per capita income of people of Bangladesh has been raised to about US$ 2000 from only 600 dollar in 2008 in the last ten and a half years, he said.

Hasan said objective journalism is not so easy. The reporters, including the crime reporters, are doing their jobs with utmost sincerity taking risks. The country, the nation and society are benefited for their (reporters) investigative reporting, he added.

Later, the minister inaugurated the annual sports competition of the CRAB.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)