A truly successful democracy needs to do better
For any functioning democracy, the freedom of the press is paramount.
Unfortunately, in Bangladesh, as we have seen time and again, as a nation we have failed to ensure the protection of the journalistic community from harm, and instead have fostered a toxic culture of fear and intimidation.
According to Ain o Salish Kendra, at least 154 journalists have been either attacked or harassed so far this year, by state officials or others affiliated with the government, not to mention those who ended up losing their lives in the process.
When freedom of the press is under threat, the simple fact is that no other freedom can truly exist, for it is the free press which ensures that those in power are held accountable for their actions and that the citizens of this country have access to the truth of what is happening around them.
Journalists have a duty to the public to bring this truth to light and, in the same vein, it is the duty of the government to ensure that those who attack journalists and prevent them from doing their jobs are also brought to book.
Unfortunately, we have seen brave members of the press go beyond the call of duty to bring the truth to the people, and the authorities are doing little to nothing to ensure that the freedom to pursue the truth is protected, and that those who threaten or harass journalists are held accountable for their actions.
A truly successful democracy needs to do better -- much better -- in this regard. There is no reason why basic freedoms such as freedom of the press should not be a part of our overall development vision as we move forward.