Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud today declared to provide special assistance to those journalists who have fallen in crisis due to Coronavirus pandemic.
"Journalists, who have recently become jobless, remained out of jobs for six months and are not getting their wages for long, would come under the purview of special assistance with each getting Taka 10000," he told reporters after a meeting of Bangladesh Journalist Welfare Trust at the meeting room of his ministry at secretariat here.
The minister said, "The special assistance would be given as a crisis-time aid to those journalists irrespective of difference of thoughts and opinions who have fallen in financial crisis due to Coronavirus pandemic and the journalists leaders and Unions will decide who (journalists) will get the assistance."
Information Secretary Kamrun Nahar and Press Institute of Bangladesh Director General and also member secretary of the trust Zafar Wazed were present at the meeting.
Hasan said the journalists across the country are working fearlessly and they are the front fighters during the Coronavirus epidemic. "I would like to extend my thanks and congratulation to all journalists who are working to prevent transmission of coronavirus," he added.
He said, "We placed the matter before the Honourable Prime Minister of providing financial support to those journalists who have fallen in financial hardship due to Coronavirus. And as per her directives, we have decided to bring needy journalists under the special assistance programme from a special fund."
On the matter of regular assistance through Journalist Welfare Trust, the minister said, a total of 1167 journalists across the country have received assistance of Taka 9.69 crore 50 thousands from the welfare trust till now since the formation of the trust. In the last year, Taka 1.97 crore were given to distressed and sick journalists, which we increased to Taka 2 crore this year, he added.
He said many journalists have already been affected by Coronavirus and three of them died.
The AL joint general secretary prayed for the eternal peace of three journalists who died of COVID-19 and coronavirus-like symptoms and sought early recovery of journalists infected with the coronavirus.
Principal Information Officer Surath Kumar Sarker, Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) president Molla Jalal, secretary general Saban Mahmud, Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) president Quddus Affrad and general secretary Sajjad Alam Khan Tapu, among others, were also present at the meeting.