NOAB recognises six newspapers completing 25 and 50 years

At the NOAB-Member Newspaper Award Ceremony (from left) The Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam, Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman, Daily Purbanchal Dhaka bureau chief Asaduzzaman, Daily Azadi executive editor Shihab Malek, state minister for information Mohammad Ali Arafat, Jatiya Sangsad speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, NOAB president AK Azad, Sangbad board of director member Nihad Kabir, Manab Zamin editor-in-chief Motiur Rahman Chowdhury, Ittefaq editor Tasmima Hossain and Bonik Barta editor Dewan Hanif Mahmud. Photo taken at Gulshan Club, Dhaka on 1 June.Prothom Alo

Newspaper Owners’ Association of Bangladesh (NOAB) has recognised two newspapers completing 25 years and four completing 50 years after their establishment. The newspapers were recognised in a ceremony held at Gulshan Club in the capital on Saturday evening.

The two newspapers completing 25 years are ‘Prothom Alo’ and ‘Manab Zamin’ while the four completing 50 years are ‘Sangbad’, ‘Ittefaq’, ‘Dainik Azadi’, and ‘Purbanchal’. The organisations were handed over crests as a sign of this recognition. Editor and representatives of the newspapers received the crests on behalf of their respective organisations.

Jatiya Sangsad speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury attended the ceremony as the chief guest. In addition to highlighting the role of newspapers in the past, the speaker also mentioned the contribution of the media in the present as well.

Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury said that newspapers have played a significant role during the Father of the Nation’s 23-year long fight and movement as well as on every occasion starting from that tumultuous time of the language movement in 1952 to six point movement in 1966, mass uprising in 1969 and the liberation war in 1971.”

“Even looking at it today, you’ll see that all the newspapers are there to support on the way of LDC graduation and building a smart Bangladesh. The way Bangladesh is moving forward, they too have contributed in that advancement. Congratulations to them for that,” she added.

State minister for information and broadcasting Mohammad Ali Arafat was present as the special guest. The gist of his comment was that they welcome information-based criticism. He believes there’s no restriction on writing anything if there’s proof.

NOAB president AK Azad gave the welcome speech at the ceremony. Highlighting the issue of Bangladesh moving downhill in the ranking of press freedom index he said that the matter of media’s position moving downward is not priding. It’s sad and shameful as well.

Addressing the state minister for information and broadcasting he said, “When the digital security act was created, we sent letters many times on behalf of NOAB that the issue be discussed with us. But the law was passed keeping us almost in the dark. Even when the cyber security act was passed later, there wasn’t enough discussion with us.”

He hoped that the act will be amended after taking advice from everyone including the Editors Guild, NOAB, BFUJ and Dhaka Reporters’ Union.

Manab Zamin chief editor Matiur Rahman Chowdhury said, “In Bangladesh, many things can be said while many other things cannot be uttered. There’s problem if we speak up and there’s problem if we don’t. Where will we go?”

At the event, Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman mentioned about his 52-years’ experience of journalism starting from the movement back in 1962. He said that the practice of free journalism or unbiased journalism isn’t easy anywhere throughout the world. This is true for Bangladesh as well. The effort for free journalism must be continued even amid all the different problems or obstructions.

Meanwhile, Ittefaq editor Tasmima Hossain reflected on the glorious history and significant role of the newspaper established by Tofazzal Hossain Manik Miah.

NOAB founding president and Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam said that currently there are nine laws that are directly or indirectly against media. Apart from them, there are three other laws in the process of making.

Among others, Nihad Kabir from Sangbad board of directors and Shihab Malek, the executive editor of Dainik Azadi also spoke in the ceremony moderated by Bonik Barta editor Dewan Hanif Mahmud.

Former state minister of planning Shamsul Alam, former caretaker government advisor Tapan Chowdhury, former election commissioner M Sakhawat Hossain, member of parliament and Farida Yasmin, the president of the National Press Club, Sheltech Group chairman Kutubuddin Ahmed, former BGMEA president Anwar-Ul-Alam Chowdhury Pervez, Bangladesh Federal Journalist Union president Omar Faruk and others were present on the occasion.

Besides, ambassadors and diplomats of different countries including European Union ambassador Charles Whiteley were also present.

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