Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud today said journalists are risking their lives to cover the coronavirus pandemic.
"So far, 60 journalists were infected with coronavirus in the country. I lost my friend, journalist Humayun Kabir Khokan, who died of COVID-19," he said while inaugurating a design fiction chamber at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) here.
Hasan, also the Awami League joint general secretary, prayed for the eternal peace of the departed soul of Khokan and sought early recovery of those infected with coronavirus.
Pledging always to stay beside journalists, he said: "I requested the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University authorities to keep a special COVID-19 testing arrangement for journalists and they kept my request. I will also ask them to open a special booth for journalists."
The information minister said the government is doing everything possible for the country's needy journalists and hoped that something could be done soon to this end.
Many developed countries spend more money in the military sector than that of medical research, he said, but the whole world is now involved in a war against an invisible enemy- coronavirus.
"No more war of arms," he said, urging all states to work together to protect their peoples from coronavirus.
Highlighting the global situation of COVID-19, Hasan said this is not a national crisis but a global pandemic.
"This time, you (reporters) should prepare inspirational news items so that none gets disappointed," he added.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has brought the country's one third of the population under the government's assistance, including economic stimulus, to protect their lives and livelihoods amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
The whole world and even the World Health Organization, the World Economic Forum, and prestigious magazines like Forbes and The Economist applauded the bold leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in tackling the coronavirus crisis, Hasan said.
Chaired by DRU president Rafiqul Islam Azad and moderated by its general secretary Reaz Chowdhury, the function was addressed, among others, by National Interest of Bangladesh (NIB) executive president Mohammad Ibrahim and DRU vice-president Nazrul Kabir.
Later, on behalf of the party, AL relief and social welfare secretary Sujit Roy Nandi handed over coronavirus safety gears – antiseptic soaps and hand sanitizers – to the DRU leaders for journalists.