Sunday, October 20, 2019

Editors Guild will fight for editorial freedom, vows its President Toufique Imrose Khalidi

  • Staff Correspondent
    Published: 2019-05-15 21:17:22 BdST

Editors Guild, Bangladesh will fight for editorial freedom, its President Toufique Imrose Khalidi has said.

Khalidi also said the Guild will work to restore dignity of the editorial institution and create an environment that will discourage self-censorship.

He was addressing the first public event of the recently formed Guild, which aims to protect editorial freedom and promote responsible journalism.   

Editorial leaders from across the news publishing industry in Bangladesh launched the association in December last year in an effort to protect editorial freedom and promote responsible journalism in a country where ethical practices are in deficit.

In its function at the Lakeshore Hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday, policymakers, politicians and diplomats gathered for Iftar.

In his welcome speech, Khalidi spoke about ethical standards in Bangladesh’s journalism and highlighted editorial freedom.

“We know of days when serious but unverified allegations against very important members of our society supplied by non-media institutions have been published as news stories in leading newspapers,” Khalidi said.

“Editors of those newspapers have gone on record admitting those highly unethical acts in the name of journalism,” he said and added, “Not much has changed despite a lot of talk about raising ethical standards.”

In this context along with questions about freedom of the media, freedom of expression, right to information, Khalidi said, “The Editors Guild will work towards a free media in Bangladesh; its members will fight for editorial freedom, do whatever it takes to restore or enhance the dignity of the editorial institution, and seek to create an environment that will discourage self censorship.”

He renewed the call for amendment or repeal of parts of the Digital Security Act 2018 which threaten and undermine journalism. “We have been assured; we would like to see action,” he said, noting that the members of the Guild had in their personal capacities have spoken out against the clauses of the law.

Khalidi explained why they have formed the Guild when Bangladesh already has another grouping for editors.

“The answer is simple: they do not possibly represent even two percent of the news audience in this country. Just a few newspapers with dwindling circulation cannot surely create an organisation representative enough for this country with tens of millions of news consumers,” the president said.

“This one (Editors Guild) has representation from across Bangladesh’s media spectrum — Internet, television, radio and print,” he added.

The Guild expanded its committee soon after formation of the convening panel five months ago. 

Headed by Editor-in-Chief Khalidi, the association has in it senior journalist Abed Khan, former editor of the Jugantor, the Daily Samakal and the Kaler Kantho; Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha Chief Editor Abul Kalam Azad, The Daily Amader Notun Shomoy Editor Nayeemul Islam Khan, The Daily Janakantha Executive Editor Swadesh Roy, Ekattor Television Editor-in-Chief Mozammel Babu, DBC Television Editor-in-Chief Manzurul Islam, Gazi Television and Editor-in-Chief Syed Ishtiaque Reza, and Desh Television Editor Sukanta Gupta Alak, Asian Age Editorial Board Chairman Shoeb Chowdhury, ATN News Chief Executive Editor Munni Saha, ATN Bangla Chief Executive Editor ZI Mamun, Bangla Tribune Editor Zulfiqer Russell, Maasranga TV Chief News Editor Rezwanul Haque Raza, and Bangladesh Post Editor-in-Chief Sharif Shahab Uddin.