Journalists should play a responsible role in making Bangladesh a tobacco-free country through highlighting the importance of the issue, experts have said.
Both the print and electronic media have scope to reach people across the country, and they can also motivate policymakers to discourage the use of tobacco products among people, they said at a consultation workshop with journalists, organised by the Bangladesh Blind Mission (BBM), at BIAM Foundation in the capital's New Eskaton on Thursday.
The workshop, titled "The present situation of tobacco cessation in Bangladesh: Challenges and the way forward", was arranged as part of involving the journalists in the anti-tobacco campaign, aiming at making the country tobacco free by 2040.
Prof AHM Mustafizur Rahman, former vice chancellor of Jatiyo Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University attended the event as the chief guest with Joel Ahmed, president of BBM, in the chair. Brig Gen (retd) Khondoker Mohammad Mozammel Haque, advisor of BBM, was a special guest.
Journalists can raise awareness about the negative effects of tobacco products. They can take part in the anti-tobacco campaign, advising people to quit smoking, said the anti-tobacco activists.
The use of tobacco products creates a great risk to health, the economy and the environment. By motivating policymakers and raising awareness among people about the negative effects of tobacco products, journalists can play an important role in checking its use in the country, they observed.
Highlighting the importance of a tobacco-free country, they sought whole-hearted support from the mass media, saying that tobacco is the big obstacle to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mohammad Shamsul Islam, an epidemiologist at Ispahani Eye Institute and Hospital, presented a keynote paper, while Nayla Pervin Peya, executive producer of Independent Television, presented another keynote paper on the issue.
Around 27 journalists took part in the workshop jointly moderated by Umme Kausar Sumona and Faria Sultana of the Bangladesh Blind Mission (BBM).