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British minister emphasizes on press freedom, economic progress

  • Published at 05:23 pm April 10th, 2019
web-British Minister of State Mark Field speaks at an event in Dhaka
British Minister of State Mark Field speaks at an event in Dhaka on Sunday, April 7, 2019 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Mark Field also laid emphasis on having an effective political opposition and a free press

British Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific, Mark Field, said economic progress could be undermined in Bangladesh, unless steps are taken to improve democratic governance and accountability.

He also laid emphasis on having an effective political opposition and a free press, according to a press release issued by the British High Commission in Dhaka on Wednesday.

Field was the first British minister to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina since the parliamentary polls in December.

During his two-day visit, which included a roundtable with senior editors to discuss media freedom in the country, the minister warmly praised Bangladesh on its continued economic growth.

He also applauded its transition toward a middle-income country. He pointed out, Britain is playing a leading role in the economic development of Bangladesh as the second-largest foreign investor, and is also supporting the country through the UK aid program.

He thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her government's efforts in dealing with the Rohingya crisis, and discussed the potential options for dialogue with Myanmar, that would allow the Rohingyas to return home.

Field said, Bangladesh has been making great strides, and he was pleased to discuss with Sheikh Hasina how the two countries can strengthen the existing strong bond.

"As well as our enduring people-to-people links, we're working together to combat human trafficking, and through the Commonwealth on a variety of mutual issues from climate change to trade," he said.

"But as a true friend of Bangladesh, we stand ready to address issues around democratic governance and accountability, we believe the government must do more for its people to flourish and reach their full potential," Field was quoted as saying.

During the visit, the British minister also attended a British Council roundtable event, and discussed how UK universities and local providers can increase the pace of co-operation for enrolment  in UK degree programs, that can be run in Bangladesh, through branch campuses, and provide greater choices to students in Bangladesh.