A four-day-long virtual workshop titled “Role of Local Journalists in Implementing Digital Bangladesh” jointly organized by national news agency Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) and aspire to innovate (a2i) of the Cabinet Division and the ICT Division with the support from the UNDP was concluded on Monday.
Chairman of the BSS Board of Directors and former Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University Professor AAMS Arefin Siddique addressed the closing ceremony of the workshop as the chief guest while Information and Broadcasting Secretary Khaja Miah inaugurated the fourth workshop in the morning as the chief guest, said a press release.
BSS Managing Director and Chief Editor Abul Kalam Azad chaired the closing ceremony while a2i Project Director Dr Abdul Mannan addressed it as the special guest.
Conducted by BSS Managing Editor Anisur Rahman, BSS City Editor and Member of the Board of Directors Madhusudan Mondal, Chief News Editor AZM Sajjad Hossain Sabuj and Chief News Editor (Bangla) Ruhul Ghani Sircar Jyoti spoke in the closing ceremony.
Addressing the closing ceremony, Professor Arefin said put emphasis on proper utilization of information technology (IT) to ensure its benefits for the nation, checking dissemination of disinformation.
“Advantages and disadvantages of IT depend on its use … it’s just like a knife, if it goes to a surgeon, he or she would cure a patient (through it), but the knife can be used for any harmful purpose like killing, if a miscreant gets it,” he said.
Terming the IT as power, Professor Arefin said, “The strength of IT has enabled us to join the programme virtually from our respective homes instead of going to the venue … this has been possible because of rapid advancement of the IT)”.
Noting that though there is a process for correcting misinformation, disseminating disinformation is a serious crime, the eminent educationist said the offenders of disseminating disinformation should be brought to justice.
Urging the BSS correspondents to know more about the Digital Security Act (DSA), he said, “We’ve to run our all activities taking the DSA into consideration”.
Highlighting the significance of the World Press Freedom Day being observed across the globe today, Professor Arefin said the progress of the society will depend on with how much freedom the media are disseminating information.
The available of right information at the right time like in the present pandemic situation helps the people easily to get the services from the service providers concerned, he added.
Underscoring the need for organizing such workshops regularly, the chairman of the BSS Board of Directors said information technology will not be stagnant at one point, rather it will be flourished more with dynamism.
“Apart from arranging training for journalists to keep them updated with IT, it’s also our responsibility for informing the country’s people about its (IT) proper utilization,” Prof Arefin opined.
a2i Project Director Dr Abdul Mannan said a2i Project Director Dr Abdul Mannan, in his speech at the concluding ceremony, highlighted the a2i’s innovations and its services in materializing the vision ‘Digital Bangladesh’.
The a2i is doing various work, including patronizing innovations, operating activities of South-South Cooperation, transforming the manual services to the digital services, from grassroots to ministry levels, he said.
Turning to the digital land services, the a2i project director urged the journalists to disseminate the information about digital services so that the people can be encouraged to receive the services using the digital platform.
BSS Managing Director and Chief Editor Abul Kalam Azad said said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had talked about the ‘Digital Bangladesh’ when she was the opposition leader and now, she is joining the international conferences virtually thanks to the rapid progress of the technology.
The premier’s ICT affairs adviser and able son Sajeeb Wazed Joy envisaged the vision of ‘Digital Bangladesh’, but Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself and her government have implemented it, he said.
Noting that the prime minister has taken the ‘Digital Bangladesh’ vision for ensuring the welfare of the people, Azad called upon the journalists to keep a vigil on the movement and activities of those who, in the name of so-called movement or anything else, out to impede the government’s strides of making Bangladesh a developed country.
BSS Chief Reporter Tareq Al Naser and Special Correspondent and Infotainment-in-charge Mahfuza Jesmine, and a2i Communication Officer Mamunur Rahman and National Consultant of Communication and Media Outreach ABM Adnan Faisal joined the function, among others.
Earlier, addressing the inaugural function, Information and Broadcasting Secretary Khaja Miah today underscored the need for developing all programmes and systems related to ‘Digital Bangladesh’ in Bangla in order to provide digital services to the general people in a simpler way.
“When we visited different countries like China, Japan and Saudi Arabia we observed that they deliver their all services in their own languages. So, I think all programmes regarding ‘Digital Bangladesh’ should be made in Bangla so that the general people can get the services easily,” he said.
Lauding Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s pragmatic measures for transforming the country into “Digital Bangladesh”, Khaja Miah recalled that when the present government took the initiative of materializing the vision “Digital Bangladesh”, many people and opposition parties joked with it.
“But their mockery has been defeated by the premier’s strong measures and her ICT Adviser and able son Sajeeb Wazed Joy’s indomitable willingness”, he said.
Terming the achievement of materializing the vision ‘Digital Bangladesh’ as one of the greatest successes of the present government, the information secretary said they have launched a digital platform titled ‘My Government’ involving five ministries, including Information and Broadcasting Ministry.
“The platform, at the initial stage, would work as an ‘epoch-making initiative’ in delivering digital services to the people,” he said.
Khaja Miah simultaneously put emphasis on uploading all facilities of ‘Digital Bangladesh’ in a leaflet form on website and creating an integrated ID with all necessary documents for every service receiver so that they can get all services using the single ID number.
In her address in the inaugural function, a2i Joint Project Director Salina Pervez in her speech said the a2i is playing a vital role in advancing the ‘Digital Bangladesh’ vision with taking different innovative steps by simplifying the digital services for the citizens.
The a2i high official mentioned that the prime challenge of materializing the vision ‘Digital Bangladesh’ was bringing the rural people under the digital services.
But, she said, the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been able to overcome the challenge successfully by setting up the Union Digital Centers (UDCs) at every union across the country in 2010.
Now more than 290 digital services are being delivered by the 7,602 union digital centers across the country, Salina said.