At 14, bdnews24.com reaffirms its unflinching commitment to journalism

  • Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-10-24 03:41:12 BdST

Gloomy weather, patchy drizzle and persistent fears of coronavirus infections did little to dampen the spirit of the staff of bdnews24.com who celebrated the 14th anniversary of the news publisher on Friday evening, renewing their unwavering commitment towards quality journalism.

Oct 23 is not only bdnews24.com’s anniversary, it is also the day when Bangladesh’s online news publishing began its journey with the first 24/7 as-it-happens services.

Appreciating the changed reality, bdnews24.com scaled down the celebrations as the gathered journalists cut a cake and reminisced about the days gone past at a low-key, homely event at its newsroom - no less loved than their home.

It had all begun in early 2005. Then known simply as BDNEWS, it had worked as news agency for the other media outlets. It became the first media outlet to ever operate over the internet in Bangladesh. The other agencies were still using teleprinters to supply news.

bdnews24.com’s Editor-in-Chief Toufique Imrose Khalidi at the 14th founding anniversary of the news publisher.

bdnews24.com’s Editor-in-Chief Toufique Imrose Khalidi at the 14th founding anniversary of the news publisher.

In 2006, a new management led by journalist Toufique Imrose Khalidi brought sweeping changes to the news publisher. The 24/7 journey began in a new form.

Editor-in-Chief Khalidi shared the thrill of the launch and reaching the milestones in many firsts throughout the next 168 months with his colleagues, seniors and juniors, at the event on Friday.

He thanked the people whose hard work has made bdnews24.com a credible source of news to tens of millions of readers, viewers and listeners.

bdnews24.com’s Editor-in-Chief Toufique Imrose Khalidi says a few words for employees: “We have turned around, again and again, and we will do the same in the future.”

bdnews24.com’s Editor-in-Chief Toufique Imrose Khalidi says a few words for employees: “We have turned around, again and again, and we will do the same in the future.”

Khalidi cut the 14th anniversary cake with all at the programme.

Remembering how bdnews24.com had faced the ups and downs in the past, he said, “We have turned around time and again overcoming all the challenges, and we will do so in future as well.”

Having pioneered the journey of Bangladesh’s journalism into the dot com era, he also echoed the title’s uncompromising stance on publishing true and credible news in any situation.

Bangladesh’s top newsmakers had attended bdnews24.com’s events held in grandeur on past occasions, but this year the surging COVID-19 daily case counts forced the downscaling of the commemorations.

The media lacks journalistic knowledge and the courage to reveal the truth; bdnews24.com is still free, says Gazi Nasiruddin Ahmed, a former employee.

The media lacks journalistic knowledge and the courage to reveal the truth; bdnews24.com is still free, says Gazi Nasiruddin Ahmed, a former employee.

Still, many former colleagues could not help but join the celebrations, giving the event the feel of a reunion.

Gazi Nasiruddin Ahmed headed current affairs and coordinated editorial policy before he took the position of Joint Editor at the daily Desh Rupantor. He shared the memories of a significant part of his career at bdnews24.com.

It is the schooling in journalism, he said, that makes bdnews24.com stand out in news media crowd.

“Many of the things I practice in journalism I’ve learnt them from Toufique Bhai. Although I’m not with bdnews24.com now, I still hold its spirit to practise journalism in its purest form,” he said.

Employees celebrate the 14th founding anniversary of bdnews24.com.

Employees celebrate the 14th founding anniversary of bdnews24.com.

In his words: “Many working in the media in Bangladesh are found lacking in the knowledge of journalism and the courage to publish the truth. But bdnews24.com is still free from these shortcomings. I hope this trend will continue in the coming days.”   

In the 14 years of operation, bdnews24.com has earned plaudits for introducing many firsts as a digital news provider, including mobile sites and breaking news SMS alerts. The bilingual newspaper is also the first Bangla internet news media. It has launched the first Bangla website run by child journalists.

Arun Devnath reflects on the early days of bdnews24.com.

Arun Devnath reflects on the early days of bdnews24.com.

Arun Devnath, head of English news, was one of the news editors in the early years of bdnews24.com.

He shared his thoughts on freedom he enjoys at bdnews24.com. “A brilliant journalist may not always be a good boss, but that perception of mine changed when I began working with Toufique Bhai. He never imposed anything on us.”

Jahidul Kabir, one of the incumbent news editors, said an army of young professionals at bdnews24.com has changed Bangladesh’s media landscape. It is time the young journalists of the online news publisher stepped up and led the changes emerging in the months and years ahead.

“We’ve been through many ups and downs and hostile situations, but never ever have we compromised quality,” said Reazul Bashar, who is now a deputy chief reporter, having worked more than a decade with bdnews24.com.

Former colleague Rashed Ahsan speaks about the challenges ahead.

Former colleague Rashed Ahsan speaks about the challenges ahead.

Former manager of operations Mohammed Rashed Ahasan, who is working as general manager of sales and marketing department at Ekattor TV now, spoke about the things that have made bdnews24.com a robust news organisation, and the challenges that lie ahead.

Quazi Shahreen Haq, a former employee, reflects on her career with bdnews24.com.

Quazi Shahreen Haq, a former employee, reflects on her career with bdnews24.com.

Razu Alauddin, the editor of arts.bdnews24.com, Ireen Sultana, moderator of citizen journalism website blog.bdnews24.com, Iqbal Shahriar, manager of sales and marketing, former correspondent Quazi Shahreen Haq, Correspondent Meherun Naher Meghla, Sub-Editor Syeda Mou Jannat and New Media’s Assistant Producer Israt Jahan Monika also spoke their mind in the event.