Monday, 4 July, 2022

‘Protect journos from harassment, violence’

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 25 May, 2022 12:00 AM
  • Print news
‘Protect journos from harassment, violence’
Envoys of different countries along with senior journalists pose for a photograph at a programme at EMK Centre on Tuesday marking World Press Freedom Day 2022. —SUN PHOTO

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas on Tuesday highlighted five principles including protection of journalists from harassment and violence, noting that journalists play an even more important role in elections.

"I very much hope that these five principles are upheld throughout the election season and beyond," he said while addressing an event at EMK Centre commemorating the World Press Freedom Day 2022.

Four other standards that Ambassador Haas highlighted relating to the media are protection of editorial independence free from political or economic interference; allowing media to criticise the government, ensure that media is not held liable for the reproduction of untrue statements made by others and claims of defamation are not used to suppress freedom of expression, to stifle public debate, or to silence criticism of the government.

"We all have an obligation to protect the free press and to allow journalists to seek and report the truth without fear, harassment, or censorship," Ambassador Haas said, adding that a free press is a key ingredient in a legitimate, free democracy.

He said the United States’ policy on the Bangladeshi elections – or anywhere for that matter – is that the people of the country should have the ability to choose their own government through free and fair elections conducted in accordance with international standards. 

Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, US Jefferson Media Fellow and former President of the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ), delivered the keynote speech.

Matiur Rahman, Editor of the Daily Prothom Alo, Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki, Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Lilly Nicholls and British Deputy High Commissioner Javed Patel also spoke at the discussion.

Terming journalism a noble profession, Ambassador Haas said increasingly, around the world, it is a difficult and dangerous one. 

A moment of silence was observed in honour of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was tragically killed in the West Bank.