Blind to criticism is not helpful for democracy: Hasan
Awami League joint general secretary and Information Minister Dr Hassan Mahmud on Friday said anyone can point out mistakes of the government as criticism is perceived as democratic practice, but blind to criticism would not help flourish democracy.
He said that no country in the world was ready to deal with the corona virus. "We are trying to deal with the situation with our limited capacity. So far, the death rate in Bangladesh due to corona virus is lower than in India and Pakistan and much lower than in Europe and America" he added.
"Had we not been able to deal with it properly, the death rate would have been more than in India and Pakistan," he said.
Dr Hasan called upon to all to come forward to deal with the epidemic together.
"Protect our country and economy so that our development progress continues. Let us work together to reach the goal," he added.
The information minister as chief guest was speaking at a function to distribute cheques of corona assistance among the journalists at S Rahman Hall of Chattogram Press Club Friday evening.
Mohammad Ali, President of Chattogram Union of Journalists (CUJ) presided over the function while BFUJ Vice President Riaz Haider Chowdhury, Chattogram Press Club (CPC) President Ali Abbas, President of Dhaka Union of Journalists Quddus Afrad, CPC General Secretary Chowdhury Farid and BFUJ Joint Secretary General Mohsin Kazi spoke on the occasion as special guests.
Hasan said that after the start of the corona virus, many people apprehended danger and experts gave different opinions.
But the opinions of many have been proved wrong and not a single person has died without food during corona situation in Bangladesh in three and a half months.
"Many people did not expect such assistance from the government. But the government has delivered money to the people on mobile phones. The money was also delivered to the imams of the mosques. About 70 million people have received direct government assistance during the time," he added.
He said that Awami League has also distributed relief among one crore and 25 lakh people. Many party leaders, ministers and MPs have been attacked by covid-19 while carrying out relief activities for the people, three leaders of the AL Central Committee have also died for this reason, he added.
"It is said that China has dealt with it very well. But at first time China also neglected the virus. The doctor who found the virus was arrested there. No country in the world has been free from this virus," Hasan added.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been working from the very beginning to save the people of Bangladesh side by side with carrying out massive relief activities.
Hasan said that at the beginning of the corona virus, there were many problems in the medical field in Chattogram. "So, I have come here three times and held coordination meetings with the administration and all the ministers and MPs", he added.
"Things are much better now than two months ago. Arrangements have been made for journalists to be treated at the USTC's Bangabandhu Memorial Hospital on a priority basis," Hasan said.
The information minister said, "When I discussed with the Prime Minister to help the journalists in the situation caused by Covid-19, she instructed me to take initiative."
"First, I allocated Tk 2 crore and 31 lakh from the Journalist Welfare Trust. After that, the Ministry of Information has allocated another Tk 2 crore. A total of Tk 4 crore and 31 lakh has been allocated for the journalists," he added.
"The journalists' unions have made the list. For those who are outside the union, the option of inclusion has been kept. In the first phase, 1,500 journalists have been brought under this assistance. There are 250 journalists from Chattogram. This time those who will be left out will get the assistance later on," Hasan added.
The information minister said two cases have been filed against the information ministry for not announcing the Ninth Wage Board. The information secretary is accused in both the cases. The first case was that the Ministry of Information did not have the right to do so. Announcement of the Ninth Wage Board was a challenge, he added.
The information minister requested the owners of various media outlets from the very beginning not to dismiss any journalist and pay the dues.