The minister was talking to newspersons after addressing a function of distribution of cheques of Bangladesh Journalists Welfare Trust (BJWT) among journalists at the meeting room of his ministry at Secretariat.

Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) president Omar Faruque, secretary general Dip Azad and Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) general secretary Aktar Hossain addressed the function as special guests with the trust managing director Subhash Chanda Badal presiding.

Principal Information Officer Md Shahenur Mia, joint secretary of the ministry Md Mahfuzul Haque, DUJ vice president Manik Lal Ghosh and trust member Sebika Rani, among others, were present in the function.

Hasan said, “We want that they (BNP) would talk over the issues of people and raise the mistakes of the government. They called such movement many times.”

Replying to a query over the recent New Market violence, the minister said BNP’s local leaders fuelled the incident and police have the information. The owners of two shops, from where the incident had spread, are BNP leaders, he said, adding it should be found out whether there is any malice or not.

However, actions would be taken against those culprits who were involved in the incident, said Hasan, also joint general secretary of ruling Bangladesh Awami League.

Replying to another query over the circulation of the daily newspapers, the minister said the circulation of English dailies has been updated and it has been brought closer to reality. The circulation of Bangla dailies will also be updated soon, he added.

The minister further said the ministry has taken a decision of not giving any supplement to those newspapers which didn’t implement the 8th wage board award till now. “And we are thinking what actions would be taken in the future against those newspapers which would not implement the 9th wage board,” he added.

Earlier in the function, Hasan said the Welfare Trust was formed at the behest of the Prime Minister and the trust is now a place of hope for the journalists. The activities of the trust are being run very smoothly and transparently, he said, adding the journalists’ leaders are involved with the trust management which helps select the beneficiaries.

The minister said the policy on education assistance to the insolvent journalists’ children is also finalised.

A total of 8,156 journalists and their family members got Tk 227.9 million (22.79 crore) as assistance from the trust from 2014 till now. Besides, Taka 60 million (6 crore) has been distributed among the journalists from the Taka 100 million (10 crore) given by the prime minister for the Covid-19 assistance.

Later, the minister exchanged views with members of Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) Board of Directors and discussed various activities of BSS.

BSS Board of Directors Chairman and Dhaka University former vice-chancellor Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique, BSS Managing Director and Chief Editor Abul Kalam Azad, board members Principal Information Officer Md Shahenur Mia, joint secretary of Information and Broadcasting Ministry SM Mahfuzul Haque, joint secretary of Public Security Division Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal, director general of public diplomacy division of Foreign Ministry Harun Al Rashid, director general of ICT Division Dr Muhammad Mehedi Hasan, Ekattar TV editor-in-chief Mozammel Haque Babu, the Daily Sangbad editor Altamash Kabir and BSS city editor Madhusudan Mandol, among others, took part in the meeting.

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