Announcing the award, committee chairman Berit Reiss-Andersen rightly said that in a world where democracy and freedom of the press are facing increasing adversity, the two journalists represent those who are fighting for the same ideology. Freedom of expression is one of the conditions for democracy and lasting peace.
This recognition is not only a recognition of the work of these two courageous journalists, but also a constant motivation for the journalists who have fought against authoritarian regimes in the country, who are being imprisoned and persecuted.
As the opportunities for free flow of information have increased in the age of globalization and modern technology, so has the challenge of true and courageous journalism. This challenge has come from both sides. First, it is not easy to ascertain the truth from the myriad of information found on social media. The second and biggest challenge is authoritarian rule.
How democratic a country's system of governance is depends largely on the freedom of the media, known as the fourth estate of the country. Democracy cannot be established in any country without freedom of the press. In this context, we think it is important to consider the question of freedom of the media in Bangladesh.
Our position on the Press Freedom Index is 152 out of 180 countries and lowest among South Asian countries. Along with many other laws, the Digital Security Act enacted in 2018 has been used as a weapon to silence journalists.
There is no denying that Bangladeshi journalists, like many countries in the world, have been overcoming various adversities and performing their professional duties. Dmitry Muratov of Russia and Maria Ressa of the Philippines were also delighted to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for their courageous journalism. We have to move forward leaving fear and apprehension behind by upholding the unique example that these two brilliant journalists set against all odds.