‘Govt not solely to blame for impeding Press freedom’
Freedom of the press is not only impeded by the government but by different players including individuals and agencies, said Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi today.
He said it was no longer possible for the government to put pressure and stop advertisements in the media because the media receive ads from various sources nowadays beside the government ones.
Rizvi was addressing the Transparency International Bangladesh’s (TIB) Investigative Journalism Award 2015 ceremony and a discussion on “Media and Good Governance” at the corruption watchdog’s Dhanmondi office in the capital.
“There is no way to close down a newspaper now. If one is closed down, another 50 different media would come up,” he said referring to online and social media.
“No government has the power to suppress any news nowadays,” he said, adding that he personally did not believe in restricting media.
Chairing the event, Akbar Ali Khan, former adviser to a caretaker government and also TIB trustee board member, said people did not fear indulging in corruption for the culture of impunity.
Referring to recent criticism of TIB by lawmakers, he said, “TIB is not an anti-government organisation. It considers the government its friend.”
Manjurul Ahsan Bulbul, editor-in-chief of ATN Bangla, presented a concept paper which elicited questions about the media’s responsibility and the role of democracy in ensuring press freedom and good governance.
Bulbul said that there was a lack of follow-up reporting in the country’s media as the priority of news continuously changes.
“Media should publish not just positive news about the government but also criticise the government. Government should take the criticism positively,” said Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of TIB.
Apart from receiving a crest and a certificate, four journalists each got Tk 1 lakh each while two videographers Tk 50,000 each under three separate categories.
Rozina Islam, senior reporter of daily Prothom Alo, was honoured for her story published on April 2014 on revealing how crests conferred to Friends of Liberation War did not have the right amount of gold as per specifications.
Mizan Malik, Sajjad Parvej and Kazi Mohammad Ismail received awards for a report on fake BBA degrees, aired in Jamuna Television on April 2014.
Under Climate Finance Governance category, GM Mostafizul Alam and Jahangir Alam Ratan received the prize for publishing on corruption at the water development board in four series at Channel 24.