Terming journalists as fearless fighters, Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud said the journalists have been working without any fear from the very beginning of the prevailing Coronavirus situation.
“I have not seen any journalists sitting in fear. They work without any fear and with courage, which is really appreciable. But, many of my close journalists died which I never imagined,” he said.
The information minister was addressing the inaugural function of an exhibition on ‘media’s struggle during Corona in painting and photography’ at the National Museum in the capital on Monday.
Broadcast Journalists Center (BJC) organized the three-day exhibition with BJC trustee president Syed Ishtiaq Reza in the chair.
Eminent artists Sahabuddin Ahmed and Gulshan Hossain took part in the programme through online.
Hasan said vehicles of police, health workers and journalists were on the road when everything was closed during Corona. Thirty-seven journalists and media workers died and hundreds other journalists were affected with the virus, he added.
He said mainstream media and journalists play a pivotal role in reaching the proper information to common people and against the ill attempts over the virus on social media by vested quarters specially from the beginning of the COVID-19 situation.
The information minister said organizations of journalists including BJC stood beside all journalists during the COVID19 situation. The government also provides assistance to journalists from Journalists Welfare Trust as per the directives of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina which was not happened in neighbouring countries-India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. They (other countries) only assist the journalists who died, he added.
“We provided assistance to the journalists who have no job and who are not getting salaries for long through Journalists Welfare Trust which still now continues. So, I would like to urge the BJC to give a list and we will provide assistance,” said Hasan, also Awami League joint general secretary.
The minister said the Prime Minister has also paid in advance for the vaccine so that the country gets the vaccine in the beginning.
He said the corona virus would have more few months. Everyone should maintain all health codes, he added.
But unfortunately, he said, the truth is that some of the organizations where journalists work did not stand by the side of the journalists.
“I urged the organizations from the very beginning to consider the issue on humanitarian ground not business ground. But, many journalists were terminated which is really regretful. We should work in unison in combating the crisis,” he added.
He said the journalists show paths to the nation and society. They open the third eyes of a society and empowered common people. “They (journalists) need job security and the government is working cordially to solve their problems. And the mass media employee act is coming soon,” he added.
Hasan said there should be praise and criticism of the government works. There should be criticism in a multidimensional society as the criticism is one of hallmarks in a democratic and multidimensional society, he added.