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Dhaka Tribune

Hasan: Do not unify journalism with crime, propaganda

Freedom of media and crime are not the same thing, says the minister

Update : 01 Apr 2023, 10:33 PM

Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Saturday called for not unifying journalism with crime and propaganda, saying that journalists open the third eye of society by exposing the suppressed issues.

"Journalists open the third eye of the society by exposing the suppressed matters. Journalism is a great profession. Please, don't blend journalism with crime and propaganda," he said.

Dr Hasan, also Awami League joint general secretary, was addressing as the chief guest at the Iftar Mahfil of Dhaka Reporters' Unity (DRU) at DRU premises in Dhaka.

Presided over by DRU President Mursalin Nomani, General Secretary Moinul Hasan Sohel gave the welcome address. 

DRU Vice President Dipu Sarwar and incumbent and former executive committee members as well as general members of the journalists' body joined the function.

Speaking about the arrest of a Prothom Alo journalist, the information minister said: "Trying to lure a 10-year-old boy with Tk10 to tell something against the impendence and sovereignty in front of the National Memorial on Independence Day and publishing comments in the name of that boy even if he doesn't say anything goes not only against the ethics of journalism in Bangladesh but also against the rules of journalism around the world".

In the report, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) has been violated and the country's independence and sovereignty have been ridiculed, he said, adding: "The case has been filed as these crimes have been committed. I request you not to mix journalism with it. However, we are observing so that no one is harassed".

Noting that many reports are published in the country's newspapers and television channels almost every day centering the prices of essentials and criticizing the government, Dr Hasan said filing a case is a far matter in this regard, even if no one asked about it on behalf of the government.

"However, after this incident, the concerned newspaper told foreign media that their journalist has been arrested for publishing reports on commodity prices. By saying this they have provoked them. Completely fabricated this false propaganda actually goes against the state," he added.

Condemning the assault on journalists at BNP's Iftar mahfil at Pallabi in the city on Friday, the information minister reiterated that the government believes in the freedom of the media and always wants to maintain it.

"But freedom of media and crime are not the same thing. Journalist unions, editors, publishers, teachers, artists, and civil society members of the country have protested and issued statements against the undermining of the independence, because crimes have been committed here," Dr Hasan said.

Refuting the allegations about the Digital Security Act, he said: "Such kinds of laws have been enacted in different countries across the world. Cyber Security Laws and Regulations 2022 in the United Kingdom, Cyber Law and Punishment in the United States, and similar laws are in operation in many countries across the world".

In the United States, the punishment for this type of crime is 20 years in prison, the information minister said, adding that if someone dies because of spreading rumors through digital media, the punishment for that digital crime is life imprisonment.

"They try to make statements about our laws, but digital security laws in the US and many other countries are much tougher than in this country (Bangladesh)," said Dr Hasan.

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