Any attack on the press is also an attack on democracy : President

Staff Correspondent
President Abdul Hamid, along with other dignitaries, poses for a photograph after a function held at Daily Star Centre in Dhaka on Friday. — New Age photo

President Abdul Hamid, along with other dignitaries, poses for a photograph after a function held at Daily Star Centre in Dhaka on Friday. — New Age photo

President Abdul Hamid on Friday said that the government believed in press freedom but the freedom must have to be used for the wellbeing of the state and the people.
‘The government is giving all-out cooperation to ensure press freedom. But it has to be remembered that freedom does not mean doing anything as per wish or will,’ he said, urging the journalists to be cautious and perform their duties with due responsibility.
Addressing the inaugural function of The Daily Star’s 25th anniversary at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital, the president suggested the journalists to utilise ‘self-censorship’ while performing duties.
He also suggested the journalists to be vigilant and unite to fight against the evil forces so that none could attack on the press, saying that any attack on the press was also a threat to democracy.
Abdul Hamid said that he welcomed any sorts of criticism from the media about him and the government, but such criticism must be constructive and informative, not one-sided.
‘Criticise the government and also even me, but the criticism must be based on facts. Media’s constructive criticism can help the government to take the right decision and administer the nation on the right path,’ he said.
The president said the courage of saying white when it is white and saying black when it is black could take a journalist to the peak of his professional excellence.
He termed newspapers as the mirror of a country and said newspapers had an important role in the history of Bangladesh as they were always vocal against the persecution and exploitation of Pakistani rulers before the country’s liberation.
He also said that during liberation the international media mobilised support from the world community in favour of the cause of the liberation war.
Abdul Hamid said after the country’s independence, most of the newspapers maintained their secular and democratic stance and played a patriotic role at various critical moments of the country.
He said that English language daily newspapers had a special place in the media sector of Bangladesh as they had strengthened the connection of Bangladesh with the other nations by disseminating the country’s news to the global audience.
The president said that the English dailies also brightened the country’s image abroad by highlighting the successes.
He expressed hope that all Bangladeshi media would play an active role in the development of the nation and continuation of the country’s democratic and constitutional process by publishing objective news.
The Daily Star awarded 24 prominent individuals and an institution for their outstanding contributions in their respective fields and to the society.
A number of newspaper leaders from South and Southeast Asia also attended the programme.
The Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam delivered the welcome address while president of Mediaworld Limited Rokia Afzal Rahman gave vote of thanks for the president and the participants.

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