Bangladesh has been ranked 151st out of 180 countries in this year’s World Press Freedom Index (WPFI) by Reporters Without Borders.
In a general analysis of the situation of press freedom, it said the coming decade will be decisive for the future of journalism.
“The next ten years will be pivotal for press freedom because of converging crises affecting the future of journalism,” it says.
WPFI is an evaluation of the situation for journalists each year in 180 countries and territories, RSF states in an article published on its website.
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Norway topped the Index for the fourth year in a row in 2020, while Finland is again the runner-up. Denmark (up 2 at 3rd) is next as both Sweden (down 1 at 4th) and the Netherlands (down 1 at 5th) have fallen as a result of increases in cyber-harassment, says the report accompanying the index.
India ranked 142nd this year.
In the chapter for Bangladesh, RSF says “Bangladeshi journalists have been among the leading collateral victims of the tougher methods adopted by the ruling party and its leader.”
It also informed that reporters for the two dailies, Prothom Alo and Daily Star, are not allowed to attend government press conferences.
It also mentioned that “Ten journalists were attacked and badly beaten by supporters of the Awami League and its student wing, the Chhatra League, while covering municipal elections in Dhaka in early 2020.”
Meanwhile, radical Islamist militants meanwhile harass and even murder journalists and bloggers who dare to defend an overly secular vision of society in Bangladesh, the index says.
The index shows that the digital transformation has brought the media to their knees in many countries.
Falling sales, the collapse in advertising revenue and the increase in production and distribution costs linked above all to increases in the price of raw materials have forced news organisations to restructure and lay off journalists, it says.
The index also said that the newspapers that are in a much weaker economic situation are naturally less able to resist pressure.