Highlighting her government's various steps for welfare of the mass media and journalists, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today called upon all concerned to be more responsible in discharging their duties.
"You would enjoy the facilities, but won't perform your responsibility - it's not proper ... everybody has responsibility towards the country and society and that responsibility has to perform," she said.
The prime minister said this while addressing the foundation laying ceremony of 31-storey Jatiya Press Club (JPC) Bangabandhu Media Complex on the JPC premises here this morning. The foundation laying of the JPC Bangabandhu Media Complex coincided with the 62nd founding anniversary of the club.
Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, Prime Minister's Media Advisor Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, chairman of Editors' Council Golam Sarwar and general secretary of the club Quamrul Islam Chowdhury addressed the function, among others.
JPC President Muhammad Shafiqur Rahman chaired the function, while JPC Vice-President and President of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul conducted it.
Ministers, parliament members, political leaders, editors and senior journalists of the print and electronic media and senior government officials were present.
Earlier, celebrated Tagore song singer Rezwana Chowdhury Banya rendered two welcome songs -- Banglar Maati Banglar Jol and Baro Asha Kore Eshichi Go Kaachhe Deke Lao.
The premier said her government since 1996 has been extending support to the journalists, and declared the newspaper industry as a "service sector and enacted 18 acts and rules for the welfare of mass media and journalists.
"We have framed welfare trust act for the journalists and as well as the Information Commission Law and the Right to Information Law," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government after assuming office in 1996 had made open television channels and radio stations in the private sector which created job opportunities and competitiveness in the sector.
"The people and performers involved in the sector are being benefited side by side with the journalists," she said.
The prime minister said there is adequate freedom of the press in the country and criticized those who are spreading propaganda to this end.
In this connection, she questioned that if there is no freedom of the press, how those who are speaking on the issue got the freedom of speech?
She said 750 daily newspapers are published in the country, while there are 24 TV channels in operation and 44 more channels have applied for the license. Besides, she said, there is a number of radio stations in the private sector.
"If anyone can say after listening to the talk shows in the TV channels that there is no freedom of speech or opinion in the country," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her party Bangladesh Awami League was founded through a long struggle and the support of the grassroots people, adding the party went to power through the mandate of the people.
But it's very unfortunate that we have to compete with some parties which are not born out of the people and soil. "These parties were born in the cantonment and grabbed state power through coup, conspiracy and killing and violating the constitution," she said.
The prime minister said it's unfortunate that such parties which usurped the state power and ruled the country for long 21 years. That's why the people of the country didn't witness development and progress and their fate was not change, she said.
She said the military dictators grabbed power rebuking the politicians while later they became politicians forming political party in cantonment and taking leftovers of the society.
Not only that, she said, they handed over national flag of the country to war criminals, collaborators of the Pakistani occupation forces, killers and rapists of 71, she said and questioned how such evil forces would ensure development of the country.
Sheikh Hasina said to make the power absolute, the military dictators killed thousands of officers and soldiers in the cantonments through 19 coups, while thousands of Awami League leaders and workers became victims of intimidation in their hands.
Sheikh Hasina said when the Awami League took office after long 21 years, the people of the country started dreaming of a beautiful and better life.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina said the people of the country must have dream and thinking about a better future and staying well. "They must have high expectation, not high ambition, otherwise how a country would advance further," she said.
Reiterating her firm commitment to build Bangladesh as a proud nation, the premier sought cooperation of the journalist community towards the efforts of the government to develop the country further.
Referring to the conspiracy made before the 2001 parliamentary election, Sheikh Hasina firmly mentioned that she never did politics of assuming power by undertaking a bond of selling resources of the people to the foreigners.
Pointing out the book "Bangabndhu's Unfinished Memoirs", the prime minister termed herself as a member of the journalist community as Bangabandhu did journalism side by side with pursuing politics.
Sheikh Hasina also recalled chronological historic development of the Jatiya Press Club starting from 1954 saying Bangabandhu himself was involved in different parts of its history.
Terming the terrorists as the enemy of mass media and democracy, Hasanul Haq Inu called upon the journalists of the country to unmask the face of patronisers of the terrorists for the sake of ensuring security of the people.
Mentioning that the mass media and democracy are synonymous, the information minister said anti-democratic elements and terrorists are hatching conspiracies to halt the country's development and progress.
Inu also urged the mass media to look at the future and said they have also a role to play in protecting the country from the conspirators.
The PM's media advisor described Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as a journalist-friendly leader and statesman and said she has take some epoch-making steps for the welfare of the journalist community.
Earlier, the premier laid the foundation stone of the 31-storey JPC Bangabandhu Media Complex by unveiling its plaque.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)