President Abdul Hamid yesterday urged the media to play a responsible role by following journalistic codes and prioritising national interests.
"Media, democracy and development are complimentary to each other. One is static without the others," he said at an award-giving ceremony on the occasion of Bangladesh Press Council Day at Hotel Intercontinental in the capital.
"Media can give an institutional shape to democracy, but it should be done according to rules and regulations," the President said.
Hamid noted that the development of media has increased competition in this sector.
He welcomed the initiative of the private sector, noting that the big media houses were owned by many business groups. "This is undoubtedly contributing to the media's development."
"But, at the same time, it should also be kept in mind that these media are not used in the interest of individuals or organisations," he said, adding that the Press Council would have to play the role of a watchdog.
Hamid reminded everyone that false, provocative and yellow journalism can never be the friends of democracy.
"I think policies and the code of conduct for journalists prepared by the Press Council of Bangladesh, especially for the press and journalists working in the print media, have helped prevent yellow journalism in the country. The application of these policies and codes of conduct has to be considered for other media organisations," he added.
The President said highly-educated students are joining journalism every year. "I firmly believe that their involvement in the media will increase the dignity and development of this profession further."
He urged the tech-savvy young journalists to utilise their talent, skill, honesty and neutrality and give priority to the interests of their beloved motherland.
"You'll have to be the models of a militancy and terrorism free non-communal Bangladesh. You hold the key to Bangladesh's development," the President said.
The Press Council was established on February 14, 1974 by enacting the Bangladesh Press Council Act by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to protect press freedom and improve its standard.
A total of seven awards were distributed among five personalities and two institutions.
The awardees are -- Golam Sarwar (lifetime), former editor of Samakal; Jasim Uddin Harun(development journalism) from The Financial Express; Murshid Alam (rural journalism) from Dainik Mukta Barta; Ayesha Siddiqa Akashi (women journalism) from Kaler Kontho; Sony Ramani (photography) from Daily New Age, Daily Ittefaq and Dainik Azadi.