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Samakal Associte Editor Sabuj Younus talks to The Country Today : Print media facing horrible crisis

Samakal Associte Editor Sabuj Younus talks to The Country Today : Print media facing horrible crisis

Hemayet Hossain

Sabuj Younus is currently working as an Associate Editor for The Daily Samakal, one of the leading national vernacular newspapers in Bangladesh. He is also carrying out his duties as In-Charge of the daily's online version. To do this, the veteran journalist controls about 1,500 journalists who are currently working throughout the country, including Dhaka City. In the past, Sabuj Younus held the positions of Chief Reporter and News Editor for the reputable publication. In 1992, he started working for The Daily Banglar Bani as a reporter covering the Dhaka University. Then, at The Daily Muktakantha, The Daily Bhorer Kagoj, and The Daily Jugantor, he worked as a renowned and accomplished journalist.

The Country Today Editor Hemayet Hossain yesterday interviewed him.

He has successfully attained numerous journalism degrees both domestically and internationally during his long journalistic career. The well-known journalist has also won national honors for his work. A person of progressive ideas and conscience, Sabuj Younus is also active in a number of media organizations. He belongs to the Dhaka Reporters Unity and the National Press Club. Additionally, Sabuj Younus, a Jessore district native, is active in a number of social groups.

CT : How did you begin your career in journalism?

Sabuj Younus: After passing HSC in 1984, I considered applying for admission to a public university to pursue higher education. I admitted to the prestigious University of Dhaka and assigned to Mohsin Hall as a residential student. I was seeking for a part-time job as well because I was brought up in a typical family in Jashore. After a few days, I was given the opportunity to begin my journalism profession with Banglar Bani as Dhaka University Reporter.

CT : Why did you continue this uncertain profession?

Sabuj Younus: I picked this job with the goal of helping my country's working class citizens. Anti-autocratic activities were in full swing at the university during the 1990s. I took the pen in my hand in an effort to uphold democratic principles and voice my opposition to injustice in the society. The anti-government movement at the institution was the focus of various forms of torture carried out by police enforcement agents at the time. It goes without saying that not many journalists can write the truth bravely, but in order to do so, I had to risk the fury of the authorities. At great personal risk, I had been working as a journalist, and finally I had to put up with repression and torture. However, I did not quit my job as a journalist because I cared about the wellbeing of the mass people of my beloved nation.

CT : What notable events - both nationally and internationally - have you covered?

Sabuj Younus: Yes, I consider myself fortunate to have had the chance to cover numerous significant domestic and international events. The Rohingya Issue, the Rana Plaza Collapse, which resulted in the deaths of thousands of workers, the BDR Mutiny, which saw more than 150 army officers brutally murdered, and the Holy Artisan Attack in Gulshan, where many locals and foreigners were killed by the militants, are just a few of the noteworthy events I have covered.

In addition, I covered the Sylhet gas explosions at Magurchhara and Tengratila, parliamentary elections in 1996, 2001, 2008, 2014, and 2018, devastating floods in 1998, Cyclone Sidr, the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Dhaka, and the visit of US President Bill Clinton to Dhaka, among many other events.

In addition to covering the Bangla Book Fair in the United States in 2017, I traveled to Germany, China, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, and other countries to cover a variety of international events. Additionally, I participated in a number of seminars, meetings, training sessions, workshops, and conferences on various subjects in various nations throughout the world.

CT : While interviewing a minister, the minister's men stormed on you. Why did it happen?

Sabuj Younus: It was 2005. During the BNP-led government, AKM Mosharraf Hossain held the position of Minister of State for Energy and Mineral Resources. Bangladesh's oil and gas industry at the time was serviced by the Canadian company Niko.

A story titled "Niko offers luxurious car to state minister for energy" appeared in the Daily Samakal in June of that year. At the time the report was published, Mosharraf Hossain was residing in Canada. The publication of the report sparked intense reader response, which forced the government to fire the state minister. During this time, the minister arrived back home, and Golam Sarwar, the editor of the Daily Samakal at the time, assigned me the task of speaking with him about the burning issue.

Okay, I visited the state minister's Banani residence in Dhaka. Minister’s men who were staying at the house stormed on me and began beating me as soon as they learned that my report had caused their minister to lose his position in the cabinet.

I was shielded from the wrath of those cadres by the state minister. The state minister is currently deceased. I sincerely hope that his soul can be saved and wish him eternal peace. I would like to clarify that I ran the investigative report from a professional standpoint without harboring any hatred at this time. I still provide reports for the benefit of the country, and I want to do so in the future.

CT : What did you achieve from a journalism scholarship sponsored by the Indian government?

Sabuj Younus: One or two Dhaka-based journalists receive scholarships each year from the Indian government to attend journalism school in Delhi. The Indian High Commission in Dhaka unexpectedly extended the scholarship invitation to me in late 2003 when I was a staff correspondent for The Daily Jugantor. After my viva-voce, which I faced, was conducted by the First Secretary of the Embassy of India in Gulshan, I was finally given the scholarship.

I went to study at Jawaharlal Nehru University's Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IMCC), from where I earned a diploma in development journalism. Along with me, 30 media professionals from 25 other nations had the chance to complete the same diploma through the Government of India's highly regarded and major diploma program. The Government of India paid for our tuition as well as gave us monthly wage stipends.

CT : What is your feeling about a national award on reporting conferred on you for your extraordinary work?

Sabuj Younus: I was chosen by the Bangladeshi government as the best reporter of the year in 2012. The prize was introduced by the Ministry of Power, Energy, and Mineral Resources. You are aware that I have extensive experience in the gas and power industries. It was my primary area of journalism. On these important topics, hundreds of articles have appeared in the national dailies. I was quite proud when the government chose me as the best reporter of the year of 2012 after taking all factors into account.

CT : Golam Sarwar, regarded as one of the best editors in Bangladesh, hired you to work as his Senior Staff Reporter and later made you chief reporter and news editor of his newspaper. How did you play such a crucial role in the second-highest circulated newspaper in Bangladesh?

Sabuj Younus: One of the most prestigious editors in Bangladesh was Golam Sarwar. I had the chance to work for The Daily Jugantor for a considerable amount of time under his careful supervision. Golam Sarwar took over as editor of The Daily Samakal in 2005, and I joined the publication under his influence. My work was appreciated by Golam Sarwar, who elevated me to senior reporter. He chose me as the Chief Reporter because he was impressed with my abilities, and after giving me more time to prove myself, he gave me the position of News Editor for the prominent daily.

The News Editor of the newspaper published by Golam Sarwar is regarded by professional media members as a matter of luck since it has a different significance. I do feel myself fortunate to have enjoyed the post. As there is a great deal of strain and risk involved, particularly in developing nations like Bangladesh, working in this post is exceedingly risky. Journalism is undoubtedly a dangerous profession because the journalist must always tell the truth while taking several risks.

CT : You have become Associate Editor from a reporter. What kind of tasks pleased them to pick you up for the vital post of the prestigious newspaper?

Sabuj Younus: Our career of journalism requires us to work hard and use brains to survive each and every moment. It takes unbridled boldness to take chances. I never hesitate to write against corruption, irregularities, persecution, and torture since I am aware of this. I have spent my entire life writing against superstitions and anomalies in society. I have always been outspoken in opposition to terrorism and bigotry, and I still am. I came to my current position despite the society’s fundamentalist group's bloody eyes.

CT : We see print media's era is coming to an end. What steps are you taking to handle this crisis for your newspaper?

Sabuj Younus: You are aware that, in the age of current technology, all information is at your fingertips. You can acquire any information you want or need if you have a smart phone and an internet connection. Given the situation, the print media is already experiencing a horrible crisis that could get worse in the days to come. In terms of trust and confidence, print media's worth is still distinct from that of digital media.

Additionally, journalists share a lot of confidential information in print media that is not accessible in internet media. From this perspective, print media is extremely important. My judgment is that print media must provide innovation in this regard. For the newspaper sector to adapt to the most recent situation, numerous new ideas must be considered. Despite taking steps, I predict that print media will continue to decline in the future.

CT : You are made Samakal Online Chief. What is your planning to face the challenges in the platform of digital journalism?

Sabuj Younus: We are aware that the news industry has transitioned from print to digital, and this age is regarded as crucial or transitional.

After being pleased to my knowledgeable and witty performance, I was picked up by The Daily Samakal authorities to perform my duties as the In-Charge of Samakal Online, one of the top online news sites in Bangladesh and the entire world. I am making every effort to manage the online edition of The Daily Samakal with great achievement.

To do best performance in the digital journalism, we are hiring the highly skilled persons for our web team. Meanwhile, we have set up Samakal Studio for publishing news on YouTube. We have a strong online team to cover the news round the clock happening around the world.

Moreover, we are always adapting ourselves with the latest changes taking place in the arena of digital media.

CT : Do you have any other contribution to any discipline apart from journalism?

Sabuj Younus: In addition to journalism, I am very much fascinated to write-up literature. 'Kobita Balobhasai Bangabandhu,' '1971: March and December,' 'Desher Pakhi (Birds of Bangladesh)' 'Oil Gas Power in Bangladesh' 'Multimedia Journalism' are my widely-cited literary works.

My two publications - Oil, Gas, and Power in Bangladesh (Bangladesher Tel Gas Biddut) and Desher Pakhi (Birds of Bangladesh), were released by DOEL Publisher. It gives me great pleasure to report that the year-round sales of these two publications have helped the publisher build a successful business. Additionally, a significant number of books were sold out during the annual Ekushey Book Fair in February.

Ittadi Grantho Prokash has published two books – ‘Multimedia Journalism’ and ‘1971: March & December’. It is also a great joy for me to say that the publisher has made a good business by selling these two books all the year round. Besides, a good number of copies have been sold out during the Ekushey Book Fair, held every year in the month of February.

I feel proud that a good number of renowned media outlets have published book reviews of my publications.

CT : Thank you for giving your time.

Sabuj Younus: Thank you too

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