Moslem is a chief news editor at the United News of Bangladesh.
He has previously worked as a Dhaka correspondent for the Panos Gemini News Service in the UK, as a sub-editor at Eastern News Agency and as a news editor at The Tide. He was the head of the English news service of the Associated Press of Bangladesh before helping to found New Age, an English language daily. He is the author of three books: Journalism: Where when how, A handbook for professionals, and Feature writing.
Why did you decide to be a journalist?
“Sir, I don’t have the mind to go on with academic studies anymore. I’m aging, and I have already started doing journalism, which I enjoy so much.” This was the response I gave when my tutorial teacher at Dhaka University advised me to do a masters degree and take up teaching as my profession. Journalism is a profession and a passion too.
What is the social role of a journalist?
Journalism’s first obligation is to the truth and its first loyalty is to the people. From this moral standpoint, a journalist can give voice to the voiceless and work towards lifting human society to a higher plane of development. And that spirit of work as a journalist has lifted me to the position I now hold in the Bangladesh press.
Why did you decide to focus your work on development issues?
Bangladesh is still classed as a less developed nation, I think for adverse politico-historical reasons. Political instability has held back the country back from exploiting its newfound wealth in hydrocarbons. International oil companies have struck substantial reserves of natural gas in Bangladesh. Other minerals, such as hard rock, limestone and coal, have also been found here.
Once Bangladesh used to be looked down upon as a country of natural disaster like floods, cyclone and droughts and famine, but those days are gone. It now has prospects. These are the realities that prompt me to focus my work on development issues. After all, peace and plenty in a free society can remake human society into a heaven on earth.
What is the role of journalism for development?
The press, the fourth estate, plays the watchdog role in all societies. In a less developed country like Bangladesh, journalism should be deemed as development journalism. It should project problems and prospects in all sectors and point out solutions in the light of best practices in the developed world. The three other main organs of the state – the legislature, the executive and the judiciary – have been groping their way forward.
From misdirected independence from colonial rule through autocratic and pseudo-democratic rules, the people here have been let down. The nation is now passing through one of its worst political crises: politicians are on the run or caged by the caretaker government. Under the circumstances, the function of democratic institutions faces great challenges. There is a need for a more enlightened press here in order for it to be able to help bridge the development divide. Journalism here has a lot to learn to catch up with the standards of the developed world.