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Social media has both positive and negative sides

Information Minister for bringing it under control

WT24 Desk

Stating that social media has both positive and negative sides, Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Wednesday laid emphasis on bringing it under discipline to check fake news, Agencies report.

“Anyone can publish anything on social media as it’s an unedited platform. People used to depend on only mainstream media for information in the past, but now they also get information from social media. The recent Barguna killing got exposed by it,” he said.

Dr Hasan further said, “Many rumours and fake news were also spread through the social media causing social instability. So, we should seriously think of it, and find out ways to ensure discipline in such media so it can’t harm the country and society.”

The minister came up with the observations while unveiling the cover of a book titled ‘Sangbadikota Raat Biraate’ authored by Mahfuzur Rahman, Editor of United News of Bangladesh (UNB), at the Jatiya Press Club.

He thanked the UNB editor for writing a book on journalism based on his vast experience. “I hope journalists and the students and the profession as a whole will be benefited from this book.”

Stating that people remain alive after their deaths through their books, Hasan Mahmud said the presence of many noted journalists are not felt now as they did not write any book sharing their experiences. “Books are necessary for enriching society and literature and guiding the nation.”

As the fourth estate, he said the mass media play an important role in building a society based on logic and fairness. “The enhancement of professional skills of those involved with the media is necessary to properly serve society. I think this book will help journalists improve their professional skills.”

The minister said mass media witnessed huge expansion in Bangladesh over the last 10 years as the country now has over 1,300 daily newspapers, several thousand online portals and 34 TV channels alongside the emergence of social media.

Dhaka University’s ex-vice chancellor Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique said journalism is a tough profession as it only deals with truth. “It’s a truth industry. Journalists can only publish the truth, nothing else.”

He said there should have a competition among journalists to release their news as fast as they can, but no news can be published without cross-check and proper editing by the desk.

The DU ex-VC urged the journalists to remain alert about the abuse of digital platform and technology to check fake news.

He appreciated Mahfuzur Rahman for writing a book based on his practical experience of three decades. “The writer has described the ethical expansion of journalism in details. I believe this book will come handy not only to the students of the discipline but also to the working journalists.”

DU’s Mass Communication and Journalism Department Hononary Professor Dr Shakhawat Ali Khan said it is true that social media is helping people become democratic, but it is also creating many problems in society for its unedited contents.

He said Mahfuzur Rahman tried to focus on important issues of journalism in his book based on his own experience as a journalist and a student of this discipline. “I hope the book can appease its readers.”

Jatiya Press Club President Saiful Alam said writing book is a very creative and difficult task. “That’s why many renowned journalists didn’t write any book. It’s also unfortunate that many journalists don’t take interest in writing books.”

He said a book can help the future generation know and evaluate the social system of their predecessors. “So, I hail Mahfuzur Rahman for writing such a book.”

Prime Minister’s Speechwriter Nazrul Islam said Mahfuzur Rahman in his book has described the challenges the journalism profession is facing today. “The writer has also boldly identified the hegemony of journalists through self-criticism.”

Author Mahfuzur Rahman, also a former student of DU’s Mass Communication and Journalism department, said a good connection between the classroom and the newsroom is necessary to give the students practical knowledge and make them ready for the media industry.

In his book, the author said, he tried to share his own understandings and experiences in journalism to help students and young working journalists know about various professional issues.

DU Mass Communication and Journalism department Professor Mofizur Rahman, publisher of the book Gafur Hossain and author’s wife Sayeda Farjana Tahsin, among others, spoke at the programme held with Dr Shakhawat Ali Khan in the chair.

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