Bangladesh mass media enjoy more freedom than UK: Hasan Mahmud

Published : 05 Jul 2019 05:48 PM | Updated : 06 Sep 2020 11:40 PM

“Bangladesh is ahead of United Kingdom in the freedom of mass media” said the Information Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud.

 In an interview with the BBC in London he said, “The mass media of Bangladesh enjoy much more freedom than that of  of the United Kingdom.”

According to the press freedom index of Reporters with Our Borders 2019, the UK position in the freedom of the mass media was 33, while the position of Bangladesh  150.

The Information Minister is now on a visit to UK in order to join a conference which is schuled to be held in London from the 10th of this month on ‘Freedom of Press and the Security of the Journalists’.

When the minister was asked to say the reason as to why the position of Bangladesh in respect of freedom of the mass media came four steps down at 150 in the report of the World Press Freedom Index, the minister Hasan Mahmud replied, “First thing is that I do not know from which sources they prepared the indexes.”

“Even the mass media of UK in all cases do not enjoy so much freedom as the mass media as a whole in Bangladesh enjoy,” he added.

Citing an instance, the minister said that some mass media were banned in the UK because of the publication of wrong news.

“But for the publication of wrong, untrue or fabricated information or news, no mass media were banned in Bangladesh” he added.

He further says that the mass media in the UK are to pay fine or penalty for the publication of wrong or untrue news, while in Bangladesh no such fine or penalty is paid.  

When the minister is questioned that there are allegations of threat to the journalists from political leaders and from various detective branches, in reply the minister said, “This may be true to one or two cases, but not true to all cases.”

The minister further said, “The truth is that the mass media of Bangladesh enjoy full freedom. But in the UK there is application of law. But laws in our country are not so strictly applied.”   

The minister continued to say, mass media have widely developed within the last 10 years in our country. Moreover, in this connection he further said, “The number of the daily newspaper in 2008 was about seven hundred, now this number has risen to about thirteen hundred. The number of television on air is thirty four, and license has been given for forty.” 

In reply to a question, the minister said, “Mass media have gone under the control of some businessmen. And now if they want, they cannot criticize the business communities in many cases.”