With the demise of Latifur Rahman, the country has lost a great entrepreneur who had been a key patron of free media, said Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star.
Mahfuz Anam said this during a memorial programme which was being held today for Latifur Rahman, founder chairman and CEO of Transcom Group.
The programme began at 5:30pm and was streamed live on the sites and Facebook pages of The Daily Star and Bangla daily Prothom Alo.
"Whenever he (Latifur Rahman) was asked why he was doing this (providing patronage to free media), he would always say this is as much important as any other business for Bangladesh," Mahfuz Anam said.
Mentioning that Latifur Rahman was a firm believer of democracy and freedom of expression, he said, "The country has lost a great entrepreneur and a pillar of strength for free media."
"Latifur Rahman always believed democracy is the way for Bangladesh," he said, adding that the iconic business leader believed democracy could flourish through independent media and freedom of expression.
"He had also been a great source of strength and support to me," Mahfuz Anam added, referring to Latifur Rahman's contribution to the emergence of independent media in Bangladesh through The Daily Star and Prothom Alo.
Latifur Rahman's grandson Zaraif Ayaat Hossain was hosting the event. Latifur Rahman's daughter Simeen Hossain, also managing director and chief executive officer of Eskayef Pharmaceuticals Ltd, spoke during the event, among others.
Remembering his contribution to the country's economy through ethical and honest business practices, Simeen Hossain said, "He had lost everything in 1971 and built Transcom Group from scratch."
"Abbu may have left us but he will be with us in every step that we take," she said.
"Abbu, I promise, your spirit will forever live with us," Simeen Hossain added.
Rokia Afzal Rahman, chairperson of Mediaworld Ltd, the owning company of The Daily Star, said Latifur Rahman was "one of our strengths."
"Never thought he would leave us so early," she added.
Syed Manzur Elahi, chairman of Apex Group; Nihad Kabir, president of the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI); and Matiur Rahman, editor of daily Prothom Alo, also spoke during the event.
Latifur Rahman (Shamim) breathed his last in his sleep around 11:00am on July 1 at his ancestral home in Cumilla. He was 75.
He was buried at the Banani Graveyard in Dhaka that night, following his namaz-e-janaza at Gulshan Azad Mosque, attended by family members, friends, well-wishers and employees of different organisations he founded.
Latifur Rahman was the founding director of Mediaworld, the company owning The Daily Star, and chairman of Mediastar, the company owning Prothom Alo -- the two leading English and Bangla newspapers of the country. He was a driving spirit behind establishment of The Daily Star.
An honouree of "Oslo Business for Peace Award 2012", considered the most celebrated recognition in the business world, Latifur Rahman was an iconic figure in the business world of Bangladesh and respected by business leaders across the world for his honesty and ethical business practices.
His Transcom Group deals with an array of ventures including beverages, electrical and electronics products, pharmaceuticals, fast food, snacks and breakfast cereals, print media, FM radio and tea plantations.
Companies owned by Transcom Group include Transcom Beverages, Transcom Electronics, Eskayef Pharmaceuticals, Transcom Foods, Transcom Distribution Company, Transcom Consumer Product and Mediastar.