Tuesday, May 21, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

M Arafat vows to create excellent atmosphere for journalists

  • 'Lack of information creates opportunities for misinformation'
  • Calls for a united action against those who criticize the government and spread false information
Update : 20 Apr 2024, 10:00 PM

State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Mohammad Ali Arafat has said that his ministry wants to create an excellent environment for journalists. 

“We want to create an excellent environment for journalists where those who follow the ideology of the Liberation War will benefit, but those spreading misinformation and disinformation will be punished,” he said at the Meet the Reporters program at Dhaka Reporters Unity on Saturday. 

The state minister said that lack of information creates opportunities for misinformation. 

Stating that there is reluctance among government officials to provide information, the state minister said that if any citizen wants any information, they should receive it. To ensure the process, the government is currently working on a transformation within the administration. 

“We pledge to create an environment where media workers can work freely. Apart from this, the respective departments have been instructed to provide information to those who want it,” Arafat said.   

He called for a united action against those who criticize the government and spread false information.

Regarding unlisted news portals and misinformation spread by them, the minister said that the journalist community has long been urging the government to shut down such outlets. He said that there are 213 registered news portals in the country and 426 newspapers. These newspapers also have their news portals. 

He said that a list is being sent to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) for shutting down the unregistered news portals that have not applied for registration yet.

Arafat said: “We want to know the truth, be it in favor of the government or against it. But in the name of criticism, misled information should not be circulated and we are working to formulate policies in this regard.”

Mentioning that misinformation puts society at greater risk than the risks posed by climate change and said: “There is a lot of misinformation being spread these days, especially on social media. It is this misinformation that puts society in great danger. We are working in such a way that the free use of information cannot create confusion in society. We want to bring it into a policy framework. So that misinformation does not spread.”

Addressing the journos at the program, the state minister said: “I will take your request of bringing some discipline in journalism. As they come with some qualifications, there is no scope for spreading misleading information.”

The state minister said that the Tk60 crore that is currently deposited at the journalists’ welfare fund will be spent for the welfare of journalists.

Yesterday was the 100th day of the new government and the state minister expressed his happiness to be able to speak to the journalists on such a happy occasion. 

“I still don't know 100% about the ministry as it is huge in size and scope. But I have learnt a lot during the past 100 days,” he added. 

President of Dhaka Reporters Unity Syed Shukur Ali Shubo presided over the program.

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