Unity amongst the country’s journalists is necessary to ensure professional security and protection during this global crisis
Against the backdrop of journalists being laid off by different print, electronic and online media, a large number of university teachers of journalism and journalists have sought government and non-government efforts to ensure the professional security of journalists amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
A statement, issued by 80 journalists and teachers of mass communication and journalism of Bangladesh’s reputed public and private universities, was issued in this regard on Sunday.
Unity amongst the country’s journalists is necessary to ensure professional security and protection during this global crisis, said the statement.
“We have come to know that owners and authorities of many print and television media decided not to provide festival bonuses for Eid to their journalists and employees just one month after the general holidays announced by the government in the last week of March this year.
“Some media organizations even issued pay and bonus cuts, gave forced leave and laid off a large number of journalists and created a crisis in the country’s mass media,” read the statement.
“We are aware of the disruption caused by Covid-19 in our lives, businesses, and other economic activities. And as a result of this, our media organizations are facing many problems, such as a massive decline in advertisements and other incomes.
“The government and many non-government organizations owe huge sums of money to many media outlets. The current situation for our newspapers has become more difficult as sales have dropped significantly in the last few months,” the statement added.
Considering the present situation, they called upon the authorities concerned to ensure the professional security of journalists so that none becomes jobless during this time of crisis triggered by the coronavirus outbreak.
They also suggested media outlet owners seek loan assistance from the government on easy terms.
The signatories (teachers) included former and incumbent teachers of mass communication and journalism at DU– Prof Shakhawat Ali Khan, Prof Golam Rahman (former chief information commissioner), Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique (former vice-chancellor of DU and newly appointed chairman of state-run news agency Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha) and Prof Mofizur Rhaman and Abdur Razzaque Khan, Prof Dulal Chandra Biswas and Prof Pradip Kumar Pandey of RU, Md Ali Asgar Chowdhury, Md Shahidul Haque, Md Abul Kalam Azad, Muhammad Zakaria, Rajib Nandi, and Rezaul Karim and Sudipto Sharma of CU.
Among the journalists who signed the statement, are Nadeem Qadir, Zulfiqar Ali Manik, Sukanta Gupta Alak, Joy E Mamun, Ashok Chowdhury, Munni Saha, Nazrul Islam Mithu, Pranab Saha, Prabhash Amin, Fahim Ahmed, Talat Mamun, Ranjan Sen, Debashish Roy, Saidul Islam, Ashish Saikat, and Deep Azad.