Closure of Chattogram daily newspapers as a sequel to gherao of senior editor MA Malek's house by a section of protesting journalists has been viewed as an unprecedented incident by the Newspapers Owners' Association of Bangladesh (NOAB).
In a statement issued to the press, NOAB President A.K. Azad, on behalf of his organisation, viewed the incident as a matter of grave concern.
The NOAB statement said that there are places like the Press Club or paper offices to press home the demand of journalists. However, a residential house where women, children and patients live, cannot be the best place for raising demands through miking and slogan. Incidents like it are unique and have never happened before. The NOAB statement said that such happenings are matters of grave concern and take the dignity of both the journalists and owners to a bottom level.
The statement called for calm and cooperation between all concerned in these difficult days of COVID-19, when newspaper circulation and income have hit a rock bottom. Paper pages have been slashed and the government owed crores of taka to the newspapers because of uncleared advertisement bills. Although various sectors have received government's inducements, newsprint, the single most item for publication of newspapers, is still a costly imported material. NOAB has not received fulfilment of any of the five demands including slashing of VAT and duty that NOAB placed before the government.
NOAB believes that publication of newspapers is a joint collaboration of owners and journalists. In these days of grave crisis, cooperation and compassion of all sides is of utmost importance. It believes that with the help and consideration of all sides, the present scenario will pass and that good sense will prevail, the statement said.