Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday urged the journalist community not to publish any news report or criticise in such a way that hampers the country’s advancement and harms its image.
“Don’t publish any such news that will malign the country’s image and hamper its ongoing advancement,” she said.
The prime minister made the remarks while distributing cheques of financial assistance worth about Tk 34.1 million to 438 sick, insolvent and injured journalists and their family members at her office in the capital.
Sheikh Hasina said she always welcomes constructive criticism from the media outlets “so that we can correct ourselves”.
“Constructive news help to the government to run the country,” she said.
The prime minister said the media will definitely criticise the government and enjoy the freedom, but that should be done with due responsibilities and dutifulness.
“I want that the advancement of Bangladesh is not hampered anymore due to irresponsible journalism,” she said.
The prime minister said everyone has the rights to enjoy freedom, but they have to be responsible.
“You will definitely enjoy freedom but you have to show responsibilities and dutifulness,” she said.
Information and broadcasting minister Hasan Mahmud presided over the function where information and broadcasting secretary Humayun Kabir Khandaker also spoke.
Senior journalists, leaders of different journalist unions including BFUJ and DUJ and concerned officials were present at the function.
Sheikh Hasina said her government believes in freedom of speech, saying, “The journalist community did not enjoy such freedom that they enjoyed in the last 14 years of the Awami League government.”
The press freedom that has given to the media will further flourish being the country transformed into a digital one.
The prime minister also said after coming to the government in 1996, there was only one television channel, BTV. Now her government has given licences to numerous TV channels and newspapers on the private sectors mainly to create employments.
The prime minister recalled that the journalists were inhumanly tortured during the government of Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami.
She continued that the journalists were not allowed in the southwestern region in 2001 soon after the BNP and Jamaat alliance came to power as they inhumanly tortured the Awami League leaders and its supporters like the Pakistani occupation forces during the Liberation War.
The prime minister further said her government is going to bring private television channels under the wage board.
She called upon the media owners to donate money to the Bangladesh Journalist Welfare Trust.
Sheikh Hasina said her government can arrange for a piece of land as the journalists wanted to build houses for themselves or can give government flats on installments.
She said they have taken housing projects to bring every home and landless people under the scheme free of costs following the footsteps of the Father of the Nation.
The prime minister initiated the BJWT fund in 2014 by giving at amount of Tk 50 million as seed money. She, later, gave Tk 200 million more as the seed money.
So far some Tk 400 million was distributed among 13,510 journalists from the fund.
‘DMCH to be turned into a modern hospital with 4000-bed’
Speaking at another event, the prime minister said her government will turn Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) into a modern one having 4,000 beds as the hospital is facing problems in treating growing number of patients.
“It is very difficult to give healthcare services to the growing number of the patients by Dhaka Medical College Hospital. So, we have devised a plan to turn the DMCH into a beautiful, modern and bigger hospital so that 4,000 patients can take treatment from the hospital at a time,” she said.
The prime minister said this at a function marking 78th founding anniversary of DMCH virtually from her office (PMO).
The Dhaka Medical College Alumni Trust organised the function at Shaheed Dr Shamsul Alam Khan Auditorium at the college. “We hope, we can start the work very soon.”
The science and health services will flourish in the days to come. That is why Bangladesh also needs to march ahead maintaining the same pace, said Sheikh Hasina.
The prime minister also said the number of research on medical science is fewer in the country, adding, “Only a small number of people are engaging in research in medical science.”
“You should give more focus on research on medical science as research to this end is essential at the current times,” she said.
The prime minister said her government would give every possible support to conduct extensive research on medical science to ensure overall development of the health sector.
Sheikh Hasina said the government will provide the required amount of money for conducting research in medical science.
“I will give you the amount of money required for extensive research in medical science,” she continued.
She said if the plan regarding expansion of the DMCH is implemented, it will set an example of giving modern treatment to a large number of people.
The prime minister, however, lauded the physicians of DMCH for making highest efforts to provide best treatment to the patients.
“Patients are getting best treatment from the Dhaka Medical College Hospital,” she remarked.
The Dhaka medical college has been offering post-graduate degrees on 50 subjects, the prime minister said.
She added that her government has been working to take healthcare services to every doorstep across the country following the footsteps of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Bangabandhu had built 10-bed health centres at every union to bring every person under the healthcare services, the prime minister added.
Bangabandhu had built Shishu Hospital, Suhrawardy Hospital and Public Health Institute to ensure betterment, she said.
The prime minister also said her government has built the community clinics across the country to pursue the ideology of Bangabandhu to reach healthcare services to every step.
She said her government has built several specialised hospitals to improve further the healthcare services.
Highlighting her government’s success, the prime minister said her government has turned 100-bed hospitals to 250 and 500 beds ones at some districts following a survey to meet the growing demand of medicare services.
“We have taken measures to reach healthcare services to every doorstep,” she said.
The prime minister, however, expressed her dismay as no surgery is conducted in several district level hospitals due to lack of anesthesiologists and many modern medical equipment are not being used properly.
She also criticised the mentality of the physicians not to stay at the rural areas for which village people have to suffer.
“Everyone (physician) wants to stay in Dhaka and no one wants to go outside the city,” she said, adding, “Discharge your duties accordingly when you are posted at the villages,” she said.
The prime minister said everyone concerned with the matter have to give due attention to it.
She reminded the physicians and said her government is reaching every civic amenity to the villages as the rural people can enjoy the benefits which are getting by the urban people.