The RSF report has the wrong information: Minister of State for Information

The Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Mohammad Ali Arafat, commented that the report published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in May 2023 on the freedom of journalism and media in Bangladesh contains wrong information and does not reflect reality.

He said this at the press briefing in the meeting room of the ministry on Monday (February 19) at noon.

The Minister of State for Information said that there is disappointment among the Bangladeshi media stakeholders and general public regarding the report and ranking published on the organization’s website. Bangladesh is ranked 163 out of 180 countries in the World Free Media Index based on false, half-truthful, and inadequate information on websites. Through this, the continuous efforts of the present government for the development of mass media in Bangladesh, ensuring a fair environment, and independent and impartial journalism have been denied.

He said that the government considers the assessment of RSF to be unacceptable, biased, and a deviation from the truth, against the true image of free media and journalistic freedom in the country. The RSF website has given information about six journalists, Sirajul Islam Ratan, Ahmed Khan Babu, Gholam Mostafa Rafiq, Khalilur Rahman, Mohammad Akhtaruzzaman, and SM Yusuf Ali, who are detained and in jail. According to the latest available information, this claim of RSF about them is unreasonable and baseless.

The State Minister said that Bangladesh has been ranked based on a lot of wrong, half-truthful, and false information in the RSF report. Using this kind of index or ranking as a reference, many people from different countries in the world want to say when talking to us that we do not have democracy, human rights, or media freedom. A formal letter has been sent to RSF to re-evaluate this ranking. In response to a question from the journalists, the state minister said, “We want to fight falsehood with truth.” Where there is real room for improvement in the media environment, the government will do so. We really want to climb the RSF rankings.