A delegation of National Defence College (NDC) visited six media outlets of East West Media Group Limited (EWMGL) at Bashundhara Residential Area in the capital on Wednesday.
The visitors include instructors and local and foreign trainees of the National Defense Course-2018 that started on January 31.
Eighty military and civil senior officials made the visit. A number of 53 local officials, including 29 army, five navy and air force each, 20 joint secretaries, one police and one foreign cadre, joined the team. Besides, 23 military officials from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Nepal, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Tanzania and Nigeria were also present.
Bashundhara Group Managing Director Sayem Sobhan Anvir welcomed the delegation, led by Rear Admiral M Anwarul Islam, senior most faculty member of the NDC.
While visiting three dailies Bangladesh Pratidin, Kaler Kantho, Daily Sun, online news portal banglanews24.com, NEWS24 TV and Radio Capital, the NDC visitors gathered first-hand information about functions of media outlets.
Earlier, they attended a discussion and exchange of view meeting with Bashundhara Group Managing Director, editors and senior journalists at EWMGL conference room in Bashundhara residential area.
Bangladesh Pratidin editor and NEWS24 and Radio Capital CEO Naem Nizam, Kaler Kantho editor Imdadul Haq Milon, Daily Sun editor Enamul Hoque Chowdhury and NEWS24 executive director Hasnain Khorshed, its head of current affairs Associate Prof of Dhaka University journalism department Samia Rahman, head of news Rahul Raha were present.
There was ample discussion on the freedom of press, yellow journalism, professional ethics and role of media in protecting national interest, development and security of the country.
Role of traditional media and credibility of information posted in face-book, twitter and other social media were also discussed. The armies wanted to know whether EWMGL media outlets impart training to young journalists as journalism has become a multi-disciplinary subject now. Some of the visitors were keen to know how EWMGL outlets make balance between professionalism and business. Some others questioned whether these outlets compromise fair journalism for money or group interest.
Speaking on the occasion, Bashundhara Group Managing Director Sayem Sobhan Anvir said “As owner, we want our media outlets to disseminate true and impartial reports. Otherwise, our media houses cannot succeed in becoming number one in their respective fields. We are aware of the fact that false news can damage reputation and credibility of a media house. Besides, we are committed to our readers and audiences.”
Appreciating good human resources in Bangladesh, he said “Bangladesh largely depends on imported raw materials for many products. But the country is blessed with good manpower. The country has been elevated from least developed one to developing one based on good human resources.”
Replying to a query, Sayem Sobhan also said he will consider establishing a university which will offer mainly science and business courses and be number one educational institution in the country.
Naem Nizam said EWMGL has become the largest media house in the country because of its objective journalism and people-friendly policy.
He said Bangladesh Pratidin is the largest circulated daily in the country having 6 lakh plus daily circulation as the newspaper speaks for common people. The daily has correspondents in every districts and upazilas and even in India, US, UK, and Middle East countries to provide readers with first-hand and credible information, he added.
“Although we are impartial, we work for protecting country’s national interest, pro-liberation spirit, constitution and security and sovereignty,” he added.
Imdadul Haque Milan said “People can know present and past from news and feature items. Thus, the Kaler Kantho and other media outlets of EWMGL presents readers and audiences with news and features.”
Hasnain Khorshed said “We cover a report if and when information is authentic. We do not compromise with corruption, irregularity and shortcoming, irrespective of the social position of the persons who commit those. We are not afraid of defamation cases which may be consequent upon any of our reports. ”
Samia Rahman said “NEWS24 and other outlets of EWMGL work as voice of the common people. They are not concerned about satisfying elite and powerful class of the society. We need to protect interest of common people in the country.”
Rahul Raha said although demand for newspaper declines in the US and Europe gradually, that in Asia is high. “People in China, Japan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh would like to read newspaper.”
Enamul Hoque Chowdhury said “I joined the English daily of EWMGL one year ago. Earlier, I was minister (press) in Bangladesh High Commission in Delhi. I have not faced or seen any interference of from Bashundhara Group management in discharge of professional functions and treatment of news.”
The Bashundhara Group management does not want to earn a single farthing from the media outlets, he said, adding that the Group has launched the media outlets from its corporate social responsibility to serve the country and its people.
Rear Admiral M Anwarul Islam hailed Bashundhara Group for its contribution to country’s economic development and nation-building.
“Earlier, I made a visit to EWMGL premises. I went to IT section. I came to know that Bashundhara Group imported world’s best equipment but did not allow any foreign expert to work here. Recruitment of local experts has manifested serious patriotic feelings of the Group,” he added.
Anwarul Islam, however, said the whole country is hard hit by two problems, one drug and the other coaching business, requiring journalists to make bold stand against these.
“I along with NDC course participants made visit to several regions of the country and gathered bitter experience. Sale and use of drug are widespread. Around 80 percent of the students in rural areas from poor families go to coaching. Journalists should play more active role in addressing the issues.”
Finally, Anwarul Islam gave a crest to the Bashundhara Group Managing Director on behalf of NDC. He also presented Sayem Sobhan Anvir, editors and some senior journalists with gift items.
Bashundhara Managing Director also presented gifts to Rear Admiral M Anwarul Islam and other senior defence officials.
It may be mentioned that NDC delegates have been making such visit to EWMGL every years for exchange of views with journalists.