According to CNN, the US justice department, under the Trump administration and then under the current administration, had sought to obtain the email logs of four New York Times reporters. They, however, were unsuccessful in their efforts due to the adamant stance of Google.
Indian Supreme Court’s judgement and US justice department’s announcement would surely decrease the risk of journalists there and protect them in doing their professional responsibilities. Questions may arise as to what is the relation of Bangladeshi journalists with these decisions of two foreign countries. There is surely a connection.
Freedom of media and journalists is part and parcel of any democratic state and society. Article 39 of our constitution ensures freedom of speech and expression of all citizens and freedom of the press.
The government must ensure freedom of press and allow journalists to perform their duties without any fear if they comply with the constitution and the democratic norms and values acknowledged worldwide. Journalists’ duty is to provide people accurate information. Concerned authorities may take legal recourse if news media publishes wrong information. But none can hinder journalists or pressurise them to identify their sources of information.
Prothom Alo journalist Rozina Islam was detained and harassed for around six hours while she went to health ministry recently to gather news. She was later sued under the century-old Official Secrets Act. She is freed on bail now. Only the criminals want to obstruct journalists illegally as they reveal misdeeds.
Although every past government meddled with the press, the practice has multiplied after the enactment of the Digital Security Act in 2018. A total of 81 people are accused under the act.
We hope that the remarks often made by government high-ups that journalists will be able to do their duty freely, will not be mere rhetoric. People want to this implemented. The highest court of Bangladesh can replicate the order given by Indian one which will invigorate journalism and ensure peoples’ right to get informed.