State minister for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam on Tuesday said the government is committed to ensure people’s right to know and respect freedom of speech, reports UNB.

However, the state minister said that the increasing trend of misinformation and fake news has become a grave concern day by day.

“We all have to work in a responsible way. If we all work together, we shall be able to fight the mounting trend of misinformation and fake news,” he said while speaking as the chief guest at a discussion at Jatiya Press Club.

The Women Journalists Network Bangladesh (WJNB), in partnership with the High Commission of Canada in Bangladesh, organised the discussion on the “Importance of Digital Literacy to combat Hate Speech and Misinformation” under the project “Digital Literacy and Digital Safety”.

Describing misinformation and fake news as a “huge problem,” the state minister shared his personal experiences on what he faced in his own constituency by his political opponents.  

Canadian high commissioner to Bangladesh Lilly Nicholls agreed that it is a globalised issue as it is everywhere and it has a gender dimension as well. “The challenges exist in Canada as well.”

She said it is an important time for them to work together and discuss how they can support each other in this particular area.

Jatiya Press Club president Farida Yasmin and former president of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul also spoke at the discussion while Lead (public relations), BRAC Golam Kibria presented the keynote paper.

Daily Bhorer Kagoj editor Shyamal Dutta, senior journalists, academics, feminists, activists, media influencers, female and young journalists were present at the discussion conducted by WJNB coordinator Angur Nahar Monty.

Golam Kibria said there are a number of ways to promote timely, accurate, and civil discourse in the face of false news and disinformation.

He said everyone has a responsibility to combat the scourge of fake news and disinformation.

This ranges from the promotion of strong norms on professional journalism, supporting investigative journalism, reducing financial incentives for fake news, and improving digital literacy among the general public, he added.

Taken together, Kibria said, these steps would further quality discourse and weaken the environment that has propelled disinformation around the globe.