May 26, 2024

MM Rahmatullah: State Minister of Information and Broadcasting Mohammad Ali Arafat said that institutional initiatives will be taken to protect environmental journalism. The state minister said this in the speech of the chief guest at the discussion on ‘Climate Politics Perspective and Role of Media’ organized by National Press Club on the occasion of World Free Media Day 2024 at Jahur Hossain Chowdhury Hall of National Press Club in the capital on Saturday.

Jatiya Press Club President and Member of Parliament Farida Yasmin presided over the event, while Jatiya Press Club General Secretary Shyamal Dutta gave a welcome speech. Former President of Jatiya Press Club Shaukat Mahmud, BFUJ President Omar Farooq Chowdhury and DCAB President Nurul Islam Hasib addressed at the moment. Julhas Alam, Convener of National Press Club Seminar, Meet the Press and International Liaison Sub-Committee moderated the event.

State Minister Mohammad Ali Arafat also said that if a journalist or a reporter faces any kind of problem by the local or so-called influential people while practicing journalism on the environment, the government will provide full support, cooperation and protection to those journalists or reporters. We’ll confirm this, because of the government both nationally and centrally in favor of environmental protection.

Bangladesh is the least responsible for the environmental disaster, but the biggest victim, he added. That’s why Bangladesh has to play a leadership role on the world stage. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, we are vocal about this on any platform in the world and here we work in an inclusive process with the government, civil society, and mass media.

Arafat also mentioned, if any person or group endangers the environment for the sake of individuals or groups within the country and any journalist or reporter has to be in danger while doing journalism on that issue, the government will stand by them and take full measures to protect them. If necessary, institutional initiatives will be taken on this issue. Because the government thinks that while practicing journalism, those who highlight the deviation issues at the local level are helping the government, helping the country and the people.

At this time, the state minister also said that we want to do sustainable development keeping the environment in mind. Just as we want to protect the environment, we want to continue the economic development by protecting the environment, we want to move forward. In terms of economic development, many people try to create controversy about development projects. The environment is often used as a shield. If it is objective journalism that uses the environment as a shield to stop development, it cannot be called professional journalism.

He also said that there needs to be several institutional safeguards for those who will do journalism with integrity, courage and professionalism. Journalist Welfare Trust works for the welfare of those associated with journalism. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina started the activities of this trust with a donation. We want to work with those who are truly involved in the journalism profession, from the Journalists Welfare Trust. Some more such initiatives will be taken for the protection of journalists. The government is also working on the kind of policies that need to be taken to create financial independence for journalists.

Referring to Bangladesh’s recent position in the World Press Freedom Index conducted by RSF, the state minister said that the publication of RSF’s index is a good initiative. However, there are many weaknesses in their methodology. The views RSF is taking on scoring in different countries reflect the views of some people. It is in no way a reflection of the media freedom environment of the entire country. This is not happening in any country. But at the same time, if there is any truth or our weakness in this kind of report, we will take it into consideration and try to correct it.

Dr. Md. Liakat Ali, BRAC’s Director of Climate Change Program presented the article entitled ‘Climate Politics: The Role of Journalists’.

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