Hasan gives cheques to newsmen as assistance during corona pandemic
As part of the government's financial assistance to the journalists needing help amid the Coronavirus crisis and also family members who died of the disease, Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Tuesday distributed cheques among newsmen and victims' family members to help them tide over their problems.
Hasan, also the chairman of Bangladesh Journalist Welfare Trust, distributed the cheques at a function at the seminar room of Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB) in the city.
Terming Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as journalists friendly, the minister said the government under the dynamic leadership of the premier is currently conducting the largest ever relief operation in the history of the country.
"About seven crore people of the country have already come under the government's assistance programme in various ways. Such a big incident never happened in the history of Bangladesh. The premier also gave directives to bring journalists, who have fallen in crisis during the pandemic, under special assistance," said Hasan, also Awami League joint general secretary.
Terming journalists as the front fighters during the ongoing epidemic, the minister said, "Journalists, who have recently become jobless, remained out of jobs and are not getting their wages for long, would come under the special assistance programme with each getting Tk 10,000."
He said the special assistance would be given as a crisis-time aid to 1,500 journalists irrespective of difference of thoughts and opinions who have fallen in financial crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic in the first phase. The other journalists would get the assistance in phases, he added.
Besides, he said, a total of 199 journalists and their family members would get regular financial assistance from the Journalists Welfare Trust worth about Tk 1,69,25,000 under 2019-2020 fiscal year.
The minister gave thanks to the leaders of journalists unions to make the lists as per his directives without seeing the thoughts or opinions of beneficiaries.
He said many journalists have already been affected by coronavirus and some of them died.
Later, the minister handed over cheques for Tk 3 lakh to each victim's family members including late photographer M Mizanur Rahman of the daily Bangladesh Khabor, late staff reporter Aslam Rahman of the daily Bhorer Kagoj and late Humayun Kabir Khokan, chief reporter of the daily Somoyer Alo.
Besides, the minister also distributed few cheques to journalists at the function.
Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) president Molla Jalal, Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) president Quddus Afrad and general secretary Sajjad Alam Khan Tapu, among others, spoke in the meeting with Press Institute of Bangladesh Director General and also managing director of the trust Zafar Wazed in the chair.
Member secretary of the trust Md Mahfuzul Haque was also present in the function.
Besides, journalists Golam Mohiuddin Khan and late Khokan's wife Sharmin Sultana Rina also spoke on behalf of the cheques receivers.