Information minister disagrees on Bangladesh’s ranking on Press Freedom Index 

Information Minister Hasan Mahmud has said he does not agree with the report on press freedom ranking that puts Bangladesh behind all other countries in South Asia.

Published : 19 April 2019, 08:27 PM
Updated : 19 April 2019, 08:27 PM

Bangladesh has dropped four places to its lowest position, 150th, on the Press Freedom Index for 2019 which is made by Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontières or RSF (Reporters Without Borders). 

The report terms the situation in Bangladesh “worrying”, observing that “reporters covering protests and the election were the targets of unprecedented violence”.

Hasan claimed journalists were working “independently” in Bangladesh and there was “no censorship on news”.

The number of newspapers increased to 1,200 from 600 while that of TV stations rose three folds in 10 years, according to the minister.

He expressed his doubts over the credibility of the RSF ranking. “Bangladesh’s position would have been much better if any other organisation made the report,” Hasan told a programme in Dhaka on Friday.

The government has taken many measures and will work more in the future to ensure freedom of press, he said.

Recalling his time in Belgium for study, the minister said it is among the top countries on the RSF ranking despite having laws to fine and punish journalists for publishing false information against someone.

“And in England, 150-year-old newspaper the News of the World got shut down after it had failed to pay fines for fake news. Nothing like this has happened in our country until now and I don’t agree with this ranking,” he added.