Information Minister Tariqul Islam yesterday said Bangladesh is being affected due to malicious propaganda by a vested quarter. He called upon the editors and senior journalists to give a befitting reply through newspapers and news media to such unfortunate anti-Bangladesh campaign.
The minister was addressing a discussion on "Communication programme for development of women and children: Dialogue with the editors", organised by the Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB) in its auditorium in cooperation with the UNICEF.
The discussion was presided over by PIB Director General Dr Rezwan Siddiqui. Information Secretary Nazmul Alam Siddiqui also spoke at the inaugural session.
The information minister said the vested quarter has been carrying out propaganda to the effect that terrorism, fundamentalism and Talibans exist in Bangladesh. Because of such malicious propaganda campaign, the United States put Bangladesh on the list of countries to face stricter immigration rules, he said.
Expressing his deep concern over the US decision, the minister urged the US administration to exclude Bangladesh from this list.
Tariqul said Bangladesh, a land of communal harmony, has kept its tradition of thousands of years as a non-communal country, he said.
The information minister said the people here, irrespective of religion, caste, creed and political ideology, have built a liberal and tolerant society.
He said that despite serious communal incidents in Indian State of Gujarat, there was no reflection of it in Bangladesh and not a single incident of any communal conflict happened anywhere in the country.
"We proved ourselves a secular nation to the international community," he said, calling on the journalists to project this non-communal entity of the country to the world community.
Highlighting the prevailing situation pertaining to women and children, the minister urged the newsmen to help create mass awareness for protecting rights of mothers and children and ensuring their overall development.
In the working session of the dialogue, Editor of The New Nation Alamgir Mohiuddin was the moderator. The discussants included Managing Director and Chief Editor of BSS Amanullah Kabir, Editor of Dainik Jugantar Golam Sarwar, Editor of Dainik Inqilab AMM Bahauddin, Editor of Manav Jamin Motiur Rahman Chowdhury, Joint Editor of Prothom Alo Abdul Quiyum, Joint Secretary of the Information Ministry Afsar Uddin Ahmed, Saikh Siraj of Channel-I, Dainik Janapad Editor Syed Mesbah Uddin, Lok Samaj (Jessore) Editor Delwar Hossain Khokan, Korotoa (Bogra) Editor Mozammel Haq and Acting Editor of Sylheter Dak Iqbal Siddiqui.
Amanullah Kabir said real development of women and children could not be ensured unless economic prosperity is attained. "This cannot be done in an isolated way without launching a social movement," he said.
He suggested that the UNICEF procure space in the newspapers for publishing articles and features on various aspects of women and children.
Golam Sarwar said pages of our newspapers are full of meaningless political statements and press releases. It is not seen or even thought of in other countries, he added.
Because of these practices, there remains little scope for publishing follow-up news of important happenings and incidents. "Had there been no practices of printing such political statements and press releases, we could have ensured much more coverage of issues relating to women and children," he said.
Motiur Rahman said that in Dhaka city, women and children repression usually happen largely in the houses of educated people. He called for launching a social movement against women and children repression.
AMM Bahauddin suggested involvement of Imams of mosques and UP chairmen and members in the development of women and children.