The minister will probably talk to journalist leaders on January 23
Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud has said works are underway to implement the 9th wage board for newspapers and news agencies but some more steps would require to be
exhausted for declaring the wage hike of the journalists and newspaper employees.
The minister was speaking at the Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) "Meet the Reporters" session at its Sagar-Runi Auditorium on Sunday, reports BSS.
He said: “Ensuring media independence, collective responsibility and newsmen’s
welfare are our key objectives."
Hasan said a cabinet committee was earlier formed as part of the process to implement the Wage Board recommendations but with the installation of the new government that committee is now required to be reconstituted with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s directives.
“The new cabinet committee will discuss the matter then we will talk to your journalist community leaders possibly on January 23 and thereafter talks will be held with other stakeholders,” he said.
He said ruling Awami League’s election manifesto pledged to arrange accommodation facilities for the journalists and “we will do it (as well)”.
Hasan said his ministry laid priority on finalizing a policy for online media to ensure responsible journalism.
Hasan, however, added: “The process has progressed a lot . . . but we have to exhaust some more steps.”
The minister also said the wage board award should accommodate as well the electronic media with emergence of a number of private TV channels in recent years while previously only the state-run BTV was there.
DRU President Ilias Hossain gave the welcome speech and General Secretary Kabir Ahmed Khan conducted the session.
'PM has entrusted me with this sensitive portfoliio'
Hasan, also the publicity and publication secretary of Awami League, said the reporters are the heart of the media.
“A single report or a video clip can open the third eye of society. So, publishing a good report with correct information is very crucial,” he added.
Hasan said: "Information Ministry is a very sensitive portfolio which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina entrusted me its charge and so I want to work with utmost sincerity along with you."
“I need your overall cooperation and support to discharge my duties,” he said adding that Sheikh Hasina’s government, however, "was always friendly to journalists."
The information minister further said: "Everyone has the right to criticize the works of the government but we expect the criticism to be constructive so that the state doesn’t suffer . . . we should become more conscious while pursuing journalism”.
Hasan said his ministry would work for Media Employees (Condition of
Services) Act and he assured the journalists that they will look into their concerns regarding the "Digital Security Act."
He said: "A huge revolution took place in the country’s media as well as in social media and the social media is doing well.
The minister said there are a number of online news portals in the country which requires proper guidance to flourish and “the government is working to make a policy for this sector”.