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A pressing matter

  • Published at 02:29 pm May 4th, 2018
A pressing matter

In Bangladesh, journalists often find themselves under fire just for doing their jobs.

A free press exists to report the truth, to hold the powerful accountable, and to depict the world without bias, but recent actions by the government are making it increasingly difficult for journalists to do just that.

The proposed Digital Security Act, although intended to crack down on digital crimes rather than curtail freedom of the press, could indeed be misused, and create a climate of self-censorship and fear within the media community.

We have seen laws being abused before by vested parties, and vaguely worded laws like the Digital Security Act and the ICT Act leave much room for interpretation.

This is not good for the health of our democracy, where free expression is a constitutional right.

For us to be truly democratic, unpopular and unpalatable opinions must be tolerated.

Reporters Without Borders has ranked us 146th in the world Press Freedom Index, and it is important that the government take note of this fact.

We have seen reporters being assaulted by law enforcement agencies, and government offices restricting access to their buildings citing security reasons.

Journalists who wish to work towards exposing irregularities in government or break stories of corruption will find themselves in hot water under the draconian DSA, and that is not how it works in countries that have true press freedom.

We do not wish to be a country where freedom is a myth. We do not wish to be a country where the powerful cannot be criticized.

For our society to reach its potential, press freedom is absolutely essential.

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