Media can play a Pivotal Role in the Advancement of the Country

Hiren Pandit: Freedom of the media refers to a process in which the media of a state is free from interference by that state or government or any political influence. Constitutionally, Bangladesh is a democratic country, so freedom of media is a constitutional right. The 1948 United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of expression.” This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek information and ideas through any media.” Article 39 Clause 2 of our Constitution mentions, ‘Freedom of the Press is guaranteed’, meaning that the freedom of the press is well established nationally and internationally. There is no doubt about it.
Respect for the opinions of others is an essential condition of democracy. Freedom of expression is a fundamental right of the people. Article 39(1) of the Constitution of Bangladesh guarantees freedom of thought and conscience and Article 39(2) guarantees freedom of the press and media. Discussion, expression, and unity are essential steps of democracy. Where the media is more robust, democracy is stronger. Just as proper media practice can protect democracy, democracy can keep media free. Independent media is any government’s best friend. Freedom of expression is considered an indicator of a country’s democratic system.
Development is a holistic state of human development, development of the human condition, and quality of life. Again, not only can the income system be called development, but social, economic, political, and cultural security is also one of the development standards. In addition to fulfilling people’s basic needs, the rule of law, transparency and accountability, liberal democracy, and civil rights can be ensured through the practice of spontaneous participation of the people, and media works are one of the accessories behind its implementation. When the media is free, there is freedom of speech, thereby ensuring the spontaneous participation of the people and upholding the practice of democracy. Therefore, everyone should work together regardless of caste-religion party to protect the freedom of media.
The Media can play a pivotal role in the advancement of Bangladesh, highlighting the Freedom of Expression, Human Rights, & Democratic issues in Bangladesh and also playing a watchdog role. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, recognized the importance of freedom of expression and the press. Behind the independence of Bangladesh is the historical contribution of the media, which plays a significant role in shaping the public opinion of the outside world. The language movement of Nineteen fifty-two, the election of fifty-four, the education movement of sixty-two, the six points movement of sixty-six, the historic mass uprising of sixty-nine, and the election of the seventies, the media has outstanding contributions to every historical event.
Democracy is one of the four principles of governance mentioned in Bangladesh’s constitution. In a democratic state, the people have all the power. Public response determines how the country moves forward. That is, democracy is the governance of the people. Democracy is about preserving the fundamental rights of citizens. As a result, citizens in a democracy have ample opportunity and freedom to develop their personalities. Democracy and mass media are closely related. Media freedom is also essential for democracy.
Along with democracy, media freedom is closely related to good governance and development. It is not possible to imagine development and progress without the free flow of information and the practice of free media. But remember what Herbert Spencer said, it means freedom to do as you please without interfering with the rights of others. The development of a state is a process. Fair media practice can help the overall development of a democratic state. In the modern era, media is recognized as one of the pillars of a state. Social justice and injustice, lousy culture, superstition, citizens’ hopes, aspirations, rights, duties, public opinion formation, and good and evil are reflected in the welfare of mass media. Media is one of the accessories for the development of a nation.
A conscientious and informed journalist is one of the guiding lights of a nation, with independent media playing a supporting role. Highlighting the problems, remedies, and possibilities of the neglected, disadvantaged communities or townships through writing, changing the thoughts and views of the disadvantaged and ignorant people, turning them into manpower, promoting new ideas and innovative energy, and helping to show the light to the nation. Media plays a role. So, there is no chance for a country to think of progress by bypassing the mass media.
In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 ‘World Press Freedom Day’. In addition to celebrating the fundamental principles of free press, the day values media freedom worldwide, pledges to protect media freedom, and pays tribute to the memory of journalists who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.
Free and independent media is an essential and vital element of democracy. Through it, citizens can get information about economic development and necessary information to ensure their leaders’ accountability. The issue of the right to independent media has been included in the constitution of many countries, including Bangladesh, and the founding document of the United Nations. By protecting media freedom, we collectively uphold our values of democracy and the protection of human rights. Journalists must ensure an environment where they can work without fear of harassment, intimidation or violence. This is necessary to aid good governance and ensure the public is fully informed. Journalists must also have access to information and be able to protect sources of information.
Governments, media owners, civil society leaders, political parties, and international organizations are involved in these activities. By protecting media freedom, a society can become more inclusive and prosperous. Studies have shown that countries with greater media freedom have higher economic growth. The simple reason is that free media ensures accountability by increasing transparency, reducing bureaucracy, and accelerating innovation, which is conducive to a business-friendly environment.
A free press is also vital for human rights and social justice. Journalists play an essential role in exposing human rights violations and creating accountability. It applies to all countries with free media. Journalists also highlight the equality between men and women in society by ensuring the expression of women’s voices and experiences. By ensuring the freedom of the media, a strong trend of social development and development is established based on open dialogue. If a state claims to be democratic, it must have 100% media freedom. The freedom of the media to criticize the government should be guaranteed by the government. Public opinion comes up in the media. Therefore, if the freedom of this media is ensured, it is possible to maintain democracy.
To discuss the freedom of the media, we need to have a clear understanding of the responsibilities of the media. The responsibility of mass media is to collect information and convey it to the people. The media has an obligation and responsibility to expose abuse of power, corruption, misuse of resources, and deprivation of rights of citizens. Media freedom and democracy are inextricably linked. Without media freedom, democracy is dead. Because if there is no freedom of media, people’s spontaneous participation in governance is hindered, and people’s spontaneous participation is the core of democracy. Freedom of the media guarantees the rights of citizens, ensures the safety of minorities, brings out the reasons behind political unrest, brings stability, and ensures unimpeded investigation and research.
Mass media serves the greater interest of information for people. But sometimes, the media is also seen to be biased. Different forms of ideologies are presented to the public. Through this, mass media encourages an undemocratic state system. Again, the media often cannot express correct and free thoughts even if they want to. We have such a history in this country. Internet-based social media allows people to express their views directly. Freedom of expression no longer depends only on newspapers. It has added social media, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and blogs. However, by taking advantage of these media to protect political or personal interests, the public is often misled by the spread of wrong news, which hinders the principle of democracy. The influence of owners and advertisers is also undermining independent journalism.
The job of the media is to impartially and accurately convey these people’s message to the government. The freedom of the media and the freedom of thought of the citizens can easily measure a country’s democratic condition. It is essential to prevent media incoordination. Democracy will be established only if freedom of expression, speech, and media freedom can be guaranteed.
Despite various limitations, media has and continues to play an important role in socio-economic and political achievements. Country, nation, democracy and democratic values, human rights, freedom of the media, and the rule of law have continuously been developed for the benefit of the Internet. It can be said that social communication media, including online media, has brought about a big revolution based on information technology. Connect marginalized people with policymakers at the national level and thereby empower marginalized people to assert their demands.
The media is always relentlessly trying to strengthen the country’s independence, human rights, good governance, freedom of expression, and democracy. By establishing a stable and peaceful Bangladesh, the indomitable journey continues, emphasizing issues such as freedom of expression, civil rights, the rule of law, and human rights.
Hiren Pandit is a columnist and a research fellow.

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