• Wednesday, Nov 25, 2020
  • Last Update : 01:25 pm

A free press is essential to democracy

  • Published at 07:59 pm March 6th, 2020
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We must allow the press to remain free to expose and criticize

One of the most important aspects of a well-functioning democracy is the existence of a free press. 

This is exactly what experts from within the media industry emphasized on in a recent seminar, where it was revealed that private newspapers still remain the most trusted source of news. 

A free press represents the best qualities of a democracy, through exercising the freedom of expression, and by holding those in power accountable for their actions, regardless of their political affiliation or status. 

However, for Bangladesh, this rather important tenet of democracy has not always been upheld with the most aplomb. 

For example, the Digital Security Act, though well-intentioned, has been worded so vaguely that it can allow the police to abuse and misuse their power to suppress the press and create a culture of impunity. 

Additionally, since the advent of social media, the press itself has come under fire for being unreliable and for spreading fake news amongst the public, often resulting in mass hysteria, panic, and even riots which have led to violence and, subsequently, needless deaths. 

So the problem remains two-fold: On the one hand, we must allow the press to remain free to expose and criticize, to bring the truth to the people of the nation; on the other, we must also ensure that the spread of information is regulated and that those endowed with the privilege of informing the public are held to the highest of standards. 

As Bangladesh progresses, its democracy needs to be protected. In this regard, a free press -- one which does not fear to express or criticize -- will remain essential.

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