• Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019
  • Last Update : 05:33 am

A pressing matter

  • Published at 11:57 pm May 3rd, 2019
Photo: BIGSTOCK
Photo: BIGSTOCK

Do we wish to live in a country where the press is in handcuffs?

From economic development to gender equality, Bangladesh has made tremendous strides in the past few years, and the world is taking notice. 

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

In our country, 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.

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

This is a breach of the public’s trust, and does not bode well.

Recently, this newspaper editorialized on our unfortunate ranking of 150 in the world in the Press Freedom Index -- we should be doing so much better.

Do we wish to live in a country where the press is in handcuffs? Do we want a country in which powerful government officials are not held accountable for their actions?

The Right to Information Act 2009 clearly gives certain rights to any and all citizens -- and yet, true journalistic freedom is a far cry.

But there is hope -- the government assures us that the ICT law will not be used to harass or persecute anyone, and we hope that is the case moving forward -- a good number of journalists have been imprisoned under this draconian law, and we do not wish to see the trend continue. 

Unpopular speech must be protected if press freedom is to mean anything, and it is only through these freedoms that a nation can reach its potential.