Enrollment certificates for journalists mulled
Bangladesh Press Council plans to introduce enrollment certificates for journalists to ensure the entry of “competent people into the profession and bring about qualitative change” in the mass media, says its Chairman Justice Mamtaz Uddin Ahmed.
“No one will be able to join the profession of journalism without obtaining BPC enrollment certificates… the certificate has to be obtained through an examination once the system comes into effect,” he said in an interview with the news agency.
Referring to the Bangladesh Bar Council, a statutory body regulating the lawyers that provides enrollment certificates for law graduates for their practice, Justice Mamtaz said he has a plan to introduce the first-ever enrollment certificate for journalists through examinations.
He said he also has a plan to introduce “benevolent” and “relief” funds for the welfare of the journalist community like other professionals, including the lawyers.
“We're considering a proposal in this regard (enrollment and funds) which will be placed at a council meeting for approval,” he added.
Asked what about those already in the profession, Justice Mamtaz said the working journalists will get the certificates upon recommendations by their respective media houses.
Justifying the BPC's plan, he said the local journalists demanded certificates. “Real journalists in and outside the capital are worried about fake journalists.” This is why the press council is going to take such an initiative, he said.
Besides, the council will propose the government to amend the Penal Code enabling the press council to deal with the defamation cases filed against journalist, as those are now dealt by ordinary courts.
If the BPC is empowered to try journalists on the charge of defamation, the cases will be disposed of speedily reducing the harassment from both the parties, he claimed.
Dhaka University Vice Chancellor AAMS Arefin Siddique, who is also a professor of the mass communication and journalism department, said it will be better if such certificates are provided to journalists examining a certain level of their competence and qualifications.
He, however, stressed the importance of arranging adequate trainings for novice journalists both at home and abroad.
President of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) Manzurul Ahsan Bulbul said any decision on the media needs to be taken in consultation with all the stakeholders, including the professional bodies.
Echoing him, Jatiya Press Club President Kamal Uddin Sabuj said, “It's not possible for the press council alone.”