Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday reprimanded Social Welfare Minister Syed Mohsin Ali for making derogatory remarks against journalists, forcing him to regret his words.
She warned Mohsin against making such “reckless remarks” and advised him to talk as less as possible and concentrate on his work, government sources said.
“Upon receiving the instruction [of the prime minister], Mohsin Ali said sorry through a media statement,” said sources close to the minister last night.
Meanwhile, many leaders of the ruling Awami League have expressed disgust over Mohsin's comments. They said the comments have embarrassed the government as well as the party. However, they declined to make any formal statement in this regard.
Addressing a discussion at Sylhet Zilla Parishad Auditorium on Saturday, Mohsin had said that journalists are "dirty chaps and of bad character" and that they always misinterpret things and do not know how to deal with people.
Retracting his statement through a handout yesterday, the minister said, “I did not make the comments about all journalists. I believe that journalism is a noble job. People involved in the profession are honest and live a life that knows no fear. A number of renowned journalists are my friends.”
He claimed that when he was going to the stage that day, some journalists on the front row made sarcastic remarks about the prime minister and the finance minister. It made him lose his cool and he talked angrily to some journalists.
He also said he made the comments towards a few local journalists who had been dishing out distorted version of his statements for the last few days.
“But I am profoundly shocked to see that my words deeply hurt the whole journalist community. I deeply regret my remarks and hope this statement will bring an end to all misunderstandings ... . I had been, I am and I will be respectful to the profession,” he added.
Earlier on January 28, Mohsin had apologised for smoking on the dais at a children's function in Sylhet city and promised not to repeat such actions.
On July 22, he came down heavily on journalists, and said a law would be formulated to make sure the electronic media had no freedom. On August 4, the cabinet approved the National Broadcast Policy-2014, which drew criticism from different section of people.