Wednesday, June 19, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Freedom of the press is freedom of the people

  • Too often, our journalists find themselves under fire for doing their job
Update : 04 Dec 2023, 10:06 AM

A democracy without a free press is no democracy at all.

That is why it is more important now, than ever before, to uphold the sanctity of press freedom in Bangladesh.

Too often, our journalists find themselves under fire for doing their job: To report the truth, to hold even the powerful accountable, to depict the world without bias.

But recent actions by the government have made it increasingly difficult for journalists to do just this.

Reporters are routinely assaulted by law enforcement agencies and many governmental offices also restrict access to their buildings, citing security reasons.

This is an unacceptable breach of public trust, and a direct violation of the constitution.

With Reporters Without Borders ranking us 146 in the world in the Press Freedom Index, it is crucial that the government takes note.

Is this the kind of democracy we wish to live in? Do we wish to live in a country where freedom is a myth? Do we want a republic in which powerful government officials are not held accountable for their actions?

The Right to Information Act 2009 clearly gives access of this sort to any and all citizens -- then why are citizens still being harassed for voicing opinions?

But there is hope -- it is good to see Law Minister Anisul Huq saying Section 57 of the ICT Act will be scrapped, and the government does not wish to clamp down on freedom of expression.

More than a few journalists have been imprisoned under this draconian law, and civil society has been right to speak out against it.

For press freedom to mean anything, unpopular speech must also be protected, and it is only through these freedoms that a society can truly grow and reach its potential.

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