Prothom Alo is 21 years old today. Through much ups and downs over the past two decades it has reached today’s position where it stands as the most read and most influential newspaper in the country. It has also crossed all borders to win the love and trust of over 10 million readers in over 200 countries around the globe. This gives us hope and imbibes us with a greater sense of responsibility. On the occasion of our 21st birthday, we extend our heartiest greetings to our innumerable readers, writers, advertisers, hawkers, agents and well-wishers.
When it was launched on 4 November 1998, Prothom Alo was faced with a multitude of challenges. The challenges remain. In fact, in certain cases the challenges have become stiffer. But that does not daunt us. From the very outset Prothom Alo has adopted a firm stand in favour of democracy, the rule of law, social equality and justice. It has staunchly upheld the spirit of the Liberation War. We always aim at honest and true journalism and that remains our constant goal.
Every democratic state and society faces all sorts of obstacles and Bangladesh is no exception. The recent nationwide cleansing drive launched by the government has revealed the political and economic corruption and degeneration that has spread insidiously. Through its journalism, Prothom Alo has always strived to publicly reveal all sorts of corruption, abuse of power, crime, militancy and negative politics.
And on a more positive note, Prothom Alo also highlights all that is good, the achievements, efforts and initiatives that make a difference. These examples encourage people to look ahead and undertake constructive action. We have kept up our endeavours to build a tolerant, just and enlightened society. From the very beginning, Prothom Alo has adopted a neutral non-partisan stand for which it has won the support and cooperation of readers from all walks of life.
Bangladesh’s economy has been steadily progressing and people’s living standards have improved. The rate of education has gone up. The health sector has developed and the average life expectancy has increased too. Infant and maternal mortality has decreased. The people of Bangladesh surge forward and Prothom Alo is part of this progress. But it is a matter of concern when the democracy indicators of the country falter, when the rule of law is hampered, when people’s freedom of expression is obstructed and when laws that curb freedom of the press are enacted.
There is still a long way to go for us to fulfil the vision laid before us by the Liberation War. It is imperative that we establish democracy and the rule of law. Independent journalism is indispensible in this regard. But at this juncture, journalism is facing a challenge globally. On one hand there is the exponential growth of digital technology and on the other hand there is political pressure.
Despite all adversities, Prothom Alo continues in its determination to play a role in establishing democracy and the rule of law. We remain firm in our efforts to establish honest journalism. Prothom Alo always stands up for positive political, economic, social and cultural development. We want Bangladesh to stand proud among the nations of the world. We join hands with the entire nation in the endeavour to take Bangladesh ahead.