Progress in democracy, happiness index proves country’s good governance: Hasan

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina personally handed out the cheques to sick, injured, and financially struggling journalists and their familiesBSS

Minister of information and broadcasting, Hasan Mahmud, stated that Bangladesh's rise in the world democracy index by two steps and its seven-step improvement in the list of the world's happiest countries indicate the consolidation of democracy and good governance in the country.

The minister made these comments while presiding over the distribution of cheques by the Bangladesh Journalists Welfare Trust (BJWT) at Karabi Hall in the Prime Minister's Office.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina personally handed out the cheques to sick, injured, and financially struggling journalists and their families. The event commenced with a welcome address by Md Humayun Kabir Khandaker, the Secretary of Information and Broadcasting.

Hasan said the concept of the journalists welfare trust is the brainchild of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and she was the first who declared that it will be better to establish an fund than to provide assistance. After that, a welfare fund was formed and later the journalists’ welfare trust was established, he added.

He said the trust has truly become a dependable source of financial support for journalists and their families who are in crisis or have been killed in the country.

The information minister said the journey of private television and radio began  under the leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina.

He said there were only 10 television channels in 2008 and now 35 TV channels are on air while more seven to eight will be on air soon. The number of newspapers was 400 in 2009 while the number is now about 1250, said Hasan, also Awami League joint general secretary.

He said a vast revolution has taken place in the country’s mass media sector and it has been possible only for prime minister Sheikh Hasina and media friendly policy adopted by the Awami League government.

He said democracy has also developed along with the development of the media.

On the other hand, he said, the opposition parties specially BNP leaders are claiming that they have no rights of expressing opinions whereas they are making statements round the clock.

He said Bangladesh has made two-steps progress to secure 73rd position in the world democracy index despite BNP claimed that country’s ‘democracy is under threat’.

He said Bangladesh is leaving behind India and Pakistan securing the 94th position in World Happiness Index while India’s position is 136th, Pakistan 121st and Sri Lanka is 127th, he added.

This is the proof of good governance under the dynamic leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina, said Hasan.

He said the mass media enjoy freedom. But responsibility is needed. ‘News of the World’, one of the oldest famous newspapers, was shut due to publishing the wrong news.

The information minister said an entire team of BBC had to resign for broadcasting false news against an MP. Even the director general of the BBC had to resign a few days ago, he added.

Such kind of scenario has never been happened in Bangladesh, he continued.

The minister urged the mass media to be aware of responsibility along with freedom.

As prime minister’s special assistance during Covid-19 situation, Tk 61.5 million were distributed among 742 journalists in 2022-23 fiscal year and Tk 22.9 million were distributed among 2,298 journalists.