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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Ensuring press freedom cannot be an afterthought

One critical aspect that continues to be a cause for concern is press freedom
Update : 03 May 2024, 10:03 AM
Over the last decade and a half, Bangladesh has made significant strides across myriad sectors, and has unquestionably positioned itself as a rising star in South Asia. However, despite this stellar progress, it is a shame that we continue to lag behind significantly in various aspects that are expected from a nation with our ambitions. 
 
One critical aspect that continues to be a cause for concern is press freedom. Bangladesh has never fared well, ranking 163 out of 180 nations in 2023 and, more worryingly, showing a trend of slipping down the rankings -- it was ranked 149 in 2019. 
 
For a nation that aspires to be a major regional and global democracy in the not-so-distant future, this is a worrying trend that the authorities concerned would do well to address. 
 
Ensuring press freedom is of course a cornerstone of any functioning democracy and plays a crucial role in holding governments accountable, exposing corruption, and ensuring transparency. An empowered press serves as a watchdog, keeping a check on the powers that be and providing a voice to the voiceless. It is indeed disappointing that for Bangladesh, where the media has a long history of playing a pivotal role in shaping public opinion and fostering values, we have taken steps backwards instead of the opposite.
 
Ensuring the safety and security of journalists and fostering a culture of openness and transparency should be the bare minimum expected of any legitimate democracy. For Bangladesh to continue on its path of development and progress, it must address the challenges facing the media and uphold the principles of press freedom. Anything less would be a disservice to the nation and its people.
 
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