Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu asked the media to remain watchful of the most dire challenges including religious extremism and militancy on the way to attain a vibrant and pluralistic media environment in South Asia.
The minister urged the media to play a pivotal role in the complex scenario of the region where democracy and secularism are in a fierce battle with religion-based politics, militancy and communalism.
Minister Inu on Friday inaugurated the one-day workshop titled `SAARC: Opportunities and challenges in media’ organised jointly by the ministry of information and SAARC Information Centre (SIC) at a hotel in the capital.
He said, the government of Bangladesh led by prime minister Sheikh Hasina stands for free, vibrant, pluralistic and responsible media. `We do not have `embedded’ journalists or ‘spin doctors’ to manipulate media’, he stated.
Information secretary Martuza Ahmed presided over the inaugural session. Laxmi Bilas Koirala, director general of Nepal department of information and director of SIC, director general- SAARC of ministry of foreign affairs Abdul Motaleb Sarker also spoke on the occasion.
Hasanul Haq Inu said, `the ethno-cultural-religious violence triggered by trans-nationalization and religious extremism has not only affected South Asia but the whole world. And failed extremist political parties resorted to violence in the name of religion’, he added.
Inu underscored the need to eliminate terrorism, yellow journalism and religious extremism as they pose major threats both to free media and democracy and tend to tyranny of majority and ignoring minority people which he said, are antagonistic to democratic norms.
Information minister detected seven dire challenges namely religious extremism, militancy, minority exploitation, cross-border terrorism, racism, militarization and colonial bureaucracy which the media has to contemplate to overcome in attaining its destiny.
Inu expressed high hopes that South Asia will further flourish if all media join hand in hand to shun militancy and advocate for green, digital development and for policy of inclusion of the marginalised section of people in society and politics.
Associate editor of the daily Observer Syed Badrul Ahsan and Professor Kundan Aryal of Tribhuvan University of Nepal presented the working paper.
Additional secretary of ministry of information ASM Mahbubul Alam summed up the workshop attended by sixty participants including principal information officer Tasir Ahmed, director general of Press Institute of Bangladesh Shah Alamgir, director general of National Institute of Mass Communication AKM Nesar Uddin Bhuiyan, MD and chief editor of Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha Abul Kalam Azad, joint secretary Md. Nasir Uddin Ahmed, editor of the daily Bhorer Kagoj Shyamol Dutta and renowned columnists, journalists and academicians attended the workshop.