COMMENTARY

Published:  02:01 AM, 13 August 2017 Last Update: 07:31 PM, 13 August 2017

Totally rubbish!

Totally rubbish!

The phrase "totally rubbish" is not ours. Finance Minister AMA Muhith frequently uses these two words: a) bogus b) rubbish. We all know the meanings of these words. 

Usually high-ranking officials make comments much consciously and sensibly. Their words are highly valuable according to most of the people. But AMA Muhith is one of those ministers who are often becoming news headlines and irritating people with their unrestrained comments.

It may be added that Sanskrit is a classical language in this subcontinent. A Sanskrit proverb says that people should move away from all occupations at a particular time and lead their own social life. On the other hand, AMA Muhith has been holding his ministerial post at a very elderly age.

Whatever evaluation may be there about his work, but his words are imbalanced and his unhinged, uncontrolled oral expressions have grievously offended journalists recently. Don't journalists deserve a certain wage board or a specific code for their remunerations?

 Does not Finance Minister know that all newspapers of Bangladesh highlight him, news items focusing on him, his photographs? Does not Finance Minister know about the condition of these newspapers? If he knows then it is logical for him to keep his mouth shut about newspapers and journalists.

AMA Muhith knows that there are lots of newspapers in Dhaka but why does not he know how many wings and sub-wings his political party has? If there are innumerable political parties, so many banks, so many insurance companies, so many real estate firms and coaching centers then what's wrong with newspapers or television channels?

 AMA Muhith should remember that all these newspapers and television channels are working in the country with approval from the government.

The point is that AMA Muhith himself has admitted that all things are not known to him. That's nothing wrong. One is not supposed to know everything. But AMA Muhith should not have unleashed verbal attacks on journalists in this manner.

He does not know that many journalists working for established newspapers and television channels in Bangladesh cannot properly pay their house rent. Many reporters are not paid for several months. Some journalists get salaries once or twice a year.

Even there are instances that journalists in this country pass their entire life with half of their salaries. Everyone cannot make money through journalism. Everyone does not make illegal earnings. There are a few dishonest people in all professions. But people who have carried out revolutionary changes in Bangladesh's media arena are passing hard times at this moment.

On one hand, there are digital dreams while on the other hand, there are miserable plight of journalists in Bangladesh. Under these circumstances, if a high-profile minister like AMA Muhith talks about journalists in such abusive words this is very painful and absurd.

We have heard while Finance Minister was speaking to journalists angrily his body was trembling with outrage. Video clips are showing the same thing too. But where was this anger of Finance Minister while banks and share markets were plundered by fraudsters? Finance Minister referred to a number of financial scams as "bogus".

Then why did he show so much fury to journalists? Journalists did not plunder any banks. Rather they just asked for a wage board which is quite reasonable. If Finance Minister cannot set up a new wage board, he could have said it gently. But why did he insult reporters in this way? Some people still blame Awami League for Bakshal, for shutting down newspapers. Finance Minister AMA Muhith said that he would determine the fate of all newspapers except a few. Does not it bear an intimidating hint for journalists?

The government's opponents will capitalize on these aggressive words by AMA Muhith which will degrade the government's image too. Journalists all over Bangladesh have been also immensely infuriated by these humiliating remarks by AMA Muhith. Following the death of former finance minister Shah AMS Kibria people were speculating who would be the next official to take over this portfolio.

Elderly people predicted it would be AMA Muhith which later on came true. However, AMA Muhith has perhaps forgotten that everything is subject to change. Life, portfolios, chair all these things change too. However, some idioms never change such as, "The pen is mightier than the sword".

-Ajoy Dasgupta
The writer is a columnist living
in Sydney


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