Rokia Afzal Rahman, respected chairperson of the Celebration of 25th anniversary of The Daily Star,
Mahfuz Anam, Editor of The Daily Star,
invited distinguished guests from home and abroad,
honoured representatives of the media
and ladies and gentlemen,
I am delighted to be present at the 25th anniversary programme of The Daily Star. This is indeed a remarkable achievement for a national daily. On this occasion, I want to congratulate all the journalists and staff of the newspaper.
February is the month of our glorious language movement. It seems Bangalees are only nation in the world who had to sacrifice lives for their mother language. At the start of my speech I remember the language martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the language movement, whose sacrifice invigorated the struggle for self-governance including right to mother language. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared the glorious independence on March 26, 1971 after crossing various ups and downs. Under his leadership after long nine month long armed liberation war we earned much coveted independence. Today I remember great architect of the independence Father of the Nation Bangabandhu with high respect. I also recall the heroic martyrs who sacrificed their lives in the democratic movement including the glorious liberation war.
Ladies and gentlemen,
A newspaper is the mirror of a country, as they reflect the very conscience of a people.
During the Pakistan period, newspapers of the land stood courageously against the oppression and discrimination of the Bengali people by West Pakistani ruling cliques, vocally asserting the common man's demand for the right to freedom. During the Liberation War, the international media were instrumental in creating global public opinion in favour of the cause of our freedom struggle. After independence, newspapers devoted their creative energy to the rebuilding of the war-torn nation. In all these years, most newspapers have maintained a secular and democratic stand and played a patriotic role at various critical moments of the country. They voiced the woes of the downtrodden people of the society to establish their rights. Their intellectual input to planning and implementation of various development policies such as women empowerment, poverty reduction, urban and rural development is well-recognised.
English language dailies have a special place in our media scene. They have connected the country with the global audience and brightened the image of the country by highlighting our successes. Among these English dailies, The Daily Star deserves special
mention. Through their impartial and investigative reporting and analysis, they have carved a special place in the hearts of people both at home and abroad. Besides publishing news and opinions, The Daily Star is also very committed to social causes.
They have been very active in the causes of tackling climate change, saving rivers and environment, protecting the rights of children and women and various development issues. They have been organising roundtables and discussions on various national issues, where experts and practitioners from various fields get the opportunity to share their ideas. As part of what they consider to be their social duty, this newspaper helps create awareness on various critical issues among mass people.
Every year, The Daily Star honours distinguished persons from different fields, particularly business, climate change and arts and entertainment. Honours such as the DHL Business Award, the HSBC Climate Award and Standard Chartered Celebrating
Life programmes, organised by The Daily Star with such global brands, recognise the contributions of those who endeavour to achieve excellence in their respective fields. As an initiative to motivate students, The Daily Star has been awarding top performing students of O-Level and A-level since the past 16 years. Their efforts go further beyond
awards though, as they have always strived to bring into light various initiatives by young entrepreneurs, encouraging the youth population of the country to contribute to the country. I applaud these initiatives and hope that The Daily Star will continue in their endeavours.
Dear journalist friends,
We are now citizens of an independent country. Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman dreamt of golden Bengal free of hunger and poverty alongside establishing an independent and sovereign state. The country has been marching towards development and progress under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. You will have to come forward to take this journey of development further. The courage to call white what is white and describe black as such can take a journalist to the peak of his professional excellence.
You will criticize the government as well as me. However, you have to keep in mind that it should be based on fact, in no way it should be biased. Constructive criticism can play an important role in taking right decision for running the government and building nation. Free flow of information and freedom of expression is important in proper development of mass media. It has been clearly mentioned in the constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. In this end besides enacting Right to Information Law the government has been giving all-out cooperation so that the media can be run independently. It has to be kept in mind that independence does not mean doing whatever one wishes or disorder. Nobody has been given the licence to intervene in other’s right in the name of ensuring one’s right. So you will have to be cautious in discharging your duties. You will have to exercise Self censorship. You will remain alert so that none from outside can interfere about the mass media.
The government believes in freedom of the press. We want newspapers to exercise this freedom responsibly to serve the country. Any attack against the press is also a great threat for democracy. Journalists have to unite and fight against these ill forces.
Terrorism and militancy are not now limited to the boundary of any country. It is now a global problem. The mass media will have to equip itself with latest technology to resist and unearth various technology-based organized crime at international and local arena including global terrorism in this age of globalisation. The mass media will also have to play role so that none can do anything evil by misusing religion. At the moment all the media and especially the newspapers must work together to fight extremism and terrorist activities. Bangladesh is a land of moderation and religious harmony and we will never compromise with this tradition.
I want to conclude by saying that the responsible and professional practice of the press serve people with correct information and help to enhance their knowledge and awareness. Newspapers also delve into various issues concerning the nation and find
solutions. I hope that all newspapers will continue to contribute to the development of the country through responsible journalism. They need to play a pro-active role in preserving the democracy and upholding the values of the Constitution of the country.
Let The Daily Star go forward in future and their endeavour to bring welfare to the country and the nation continue.
I wish the 25th anniversary programme of The Daily Star all the success.
Khoda Hafez. May Bangladesh Live Forever.