Is the lack of good governance and democratic practice also a reason for the threat to independence of the media?
Whoever are in power have their own interpretation of good governance. Many among the ruling class have an adverse attitude towards journalists. That is because the journalists expose the irregularities and corruption which they blatantly carry out. Journalists expose the absence of good governance. Many are angered when they highlight the mistakes of the government. They put pressure on the journalists. This has an effect on media freedom.
Do your think various videos about the harassment of journalist Rozina Islam, even personal phone conversations, are being leaked out in order to create confusion? There is even fabricated information about Rozina Islam on the health ministry's official Facebook page. What would you say about this?
The health ministry is so steeped in corruption that the officials there seem to have lost sense of right and wrong. It is shocking how a ministry, run on taxpayers' funds, can publish an advertisement with false, fabricated and concocted information against Rozina Islam. Now they are using their official authority for their personal interests on Facebook. In it unfortunate that certain responsible persons within the government are also spreading these video clips and statements on their Facebook pages. This is a clear violation of the law. The government should file cases against the health ministry officials who are using state funds to spread propaganda on various digital platforms including the ministry's official Facebook page.
Recent incidents, including the harassment of Rozina Islam, indicate an aggressive attitude of those in power against journalists. Why is this so?
There are certain dishonest, corrupt officials who feel that journalists are the only obstruction to their work. While carrying out their corruption, certain bureaucrats render various powers of the state ineffective so that they cannot be held accountable. They feel if they can muffle the voice of journalists, they can get away with their corruption. So journalists are the victims of their wrath. This matter came to the forefront again in the Rozina Islam incident. Yet the government's stand, on principle, is zero tolerance against corruption. If the government really wants to build a corruption-free Bangladesh, then instead of imposing legal obstacles, they should create an environment conducive to investigative journalism.
* This report was published in print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for English edition by Ayesha Kabir