Matiur Rahman was waiting with a bouquet of flowers and the ID card for Editor of a Day. Rupkatha Rahman received a warm reception as she stepped into the editor's office at the Prothom Alo office in Karwan Bazar. Matiur Rahman left his seat for the editor for a day and sat in the seat opposite her. He said, "I am getting on in years and now I want someone young to sit in my chair. I am happy that you have taken this responsibility. Now you tell us, how does it feel to be editor for a day?"
Today I realise how hard journalists have to work so we get so much news at our fingertips every day! I learnt a lot from the Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman. This has inspired me even more to become a journalist. The work is thrilling and has dignity
Before taking up her seat in the editor's office, Rupkatha went around the entire Prothom Alo office and spoke to important persons there. She observed the work, joined meetings, shared her observations and offered recommendations. Then in reply to Matiur Rahman's question, she said, "I have been in juvenile journalism for quite some time now, but this is the first time that I had the opportunity to observe the activities of any print media so closely. That is why I am extremely thrilled to be given the responsibility of Prothom Alo for a day."
She also expressed her concern, "There are so many media platforms in Bangladesh now and I see so much news in the newsfeeds. These are questionable, in most cases. These often spread fake news, superstitions and prejudice. And you will see that children are facing serious problems because of this." She had a question too, "The government certainly has responsibility in this regard, but so have you all. What are your thoughts about making people aware of these issues?"
In reply to Rupkatha, Matiur Rahman informed her about Prothom Alo's policies regarding women and children. He said, everyone in Prothom Alo must know these policies, must internalise them, discuss them and make an all-out effort to translate these into action. Highlighting Prothom Alo's values, he said, "Our values are good journalism, solidarity, to be people-oriented, creative, and be drivers of change. We talk about change every single day. We are sensitive towards children and women. We are very conscious about how we present children and women in the pages of our newspaper. We hope that gradually all the media in the country will undergo positive change."
After explaining Prothom Alo's stand, Matiur Rahman asked Rupkatha what more was needed to be done about children's rights. Rupkatha said, "In our country when surveys are done, the sample is normally very small, restricted to a few people in a few particular places and then the results are published. So I have a proposal in this regard. As Prothom Alo is spread all over the country, you all can collect information from all over and create a data bank for children. Here we will be able to find out if children's problem are increasing or decreasing, about the state of their mental health, about their studies, their health and their family situation too."
"That certainly is a good proposal," responded Matiur Rahman, "It will be good if we can do this."
Rupkatha expanded on her proposal further. She felt that even if twice a year information could be gathered from the same place, the state of implementing children's rights would be clear.
She said, "Say, for instance, children in 64 districts could be asked the state of their mental health on a scale of 1 to 10. Or if they were getting their health care they required nearby. If their families were standing by them. All this would give a general idea. This would make it easy to reach a conclusion about any child-related problems."
Agreeing with Rupkatha, Matiur Rahman said, "I must say once again that this is a good proposal. We are working on this to an extent, but will try to do so fully in the future. And if organisations like UNICEF remind us of these matters repeatedly, that will be even better."
How has the editor for a day Rupkatha's experience been in Prothom Alo? In reply, Rupkatha said, "Today I realise how hard journalists have to work so we get so much news at our fingertips every day! I learnt a lot from the Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman. This has inspired me even more to become a journalist. The work is thrilling and has dignity. On this World Children's Day I hope that all children get the chance to gain experience of their dream jobs, just as I did."