Media barons choke freedom of press in Bangladesh, says chief editor

Those who own media outlets are the biggest obstacle to freedom of press in Bangladesh, says’s Editor-in-Chief Toufique Imrose Khalidi.

Published : 23 Oct 2016, 03:47 PM
Updated : 24 Oct 2016, 12:08 PM

His remarks came on Sunday while speaking at the 10th anniversary celebrations of Bangladesh’s first Internet newspaper.

“The main problem,” he said “is ownership. It’s the kind of people that own media outlets in this country that put up all the barriers to free media.”

But, in his view, the media is relatively free in Bangladesh.

“We have sought to redefine the role of media in setting political agenda. It’s been quite difficult to convince many of our media colleagues that activism and journalism are different.” 

It was important, he said, to consider the meaning of freedom and whose freedom was being considered.

Khalidi highlighted ownership and licensing as two weak elements in Bangladesh’s media landscape.

He also spoke of’s attempt to create a new paradigm for media’s role in the political process.

He emphasised the responsibility of journalists in ensuring a free media.

“I do get phone calls. My colleagues get many more. PR executives, government or corporate, will try to do their job...let them do journalists have to do theirs.

“We need to learn, and equip ourselves, so we know how to deal with those [elements] in the state,” he said.

The difficulty with achieving this goal, he said, is media ownership.

“Why can’t we do it? The answer is very simple. The ownership. I have said this everywhere, here in this country and elsewhere in the world wherever and whenever there’s a discussion on media freedom.”

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher