If this is the way journalists are being treated, then what protection can citizens expect?
In any successful democracy, the freedom of the press is as indispensable as any other basic right, as it ensures that those in power are held accountable for their actions and that the people of the nation are privy to the policy decisions being carried out by the government which runs their nation.
Unfortunately, Bangladesh does not have the best track record when it comes to treating journalists with the respect they deserve, and this Covid-ravaged year is no exception.
According to Ain O Salish Kendra, at least 120 journalists have been tortured, attacked, harassed, and sued in the first six months of 2021. What is worse is that many amongst these were directly victimized by law enforcers themselves, and by state-run organizations, which reveals instances of massive abuses of power which are simply unacceptable in any functioning democracy.
If this is the way journalists are being treated, then what protection can citizens expect? This is emblematic of a wider issue regarding the upholding of civil rights within our nation, and the government must do a much better job of ensuring that these rights are protected moving forward.
In the last two years, misinformation and lies have plagued our understanding of the pandemic, and it is journalists who have dug out the truth, risking life and limb to ensure that the people of this nation know and understand this new normal the best they can.
Ensuring the rights of journalists and citizens as a whole will remain essential for sustainable development going forward -- if not, the people will lose trust in the government, and that does not bode well for the future.