The Reporters Sans Frontieres' (RSF) report on Bangladesh's declining position on the World Press Freedom Index is malicious, offensive and unacceptable, said Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud on Thursday.
The minister made this remark while exchanging Eid greetings with reporters at his residence in Chattogram.
“The Paris-based RSF has always been hostile towards Bangladesh,” he said, adding that RSF also reports untruths and fabrications about the media in Bangladesh.
“They published a report last year with very offensive remarks about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina," he said.
In the wake of this, as the larger journalist unions of Bangladesh protested, similarly, some Bangladeshi expatriates in Paris had issued legal notices against the RSF through their French lawyers, said the minister.
The legal notice states that they cannot make such comments about the head of state or government of any country, as stated in French law, which means they have done so violating the French law, Hasan added.
He also said RSF collects data from the sources who constantly carry out propaganda against Bangladesh abroad and prepares reports which are of no value.
Last year, various journalists' organisations, including the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ), protested against the report and made statements, he added.
“When the same organisation talks about the media in Bangladesh again, it is natural to assume that they are continuously publishing reports against Bangladesh with malicious intent,” he said.
Mentioning that RSF has also talked about the Digital Security A9ct, Hasan said that when there was no digital issue, there was no issue of providing digital security.
“When it comes to digital in different countries including Bangladesh, different countries have enacted laws to provide digital security to the masses.”
This law has been and is being formed in almost all the countries of the world. Digital security laws have been enacted in Singapore, India, Pakistan, USA, Australia and also in Bangladesh, he said.
“This law is meant to provide digital security to all people. Many journalists have taken advantage of the law to sue for defamation,” said the minister.
“The law should not be abused against anyone, be it a journalist or common people," he said.
He also said, “There is a lot of discussion in Bangladesh about the provisions of the Digital Security Act, some criticize, but the laws that have been enacted in other countries, including India and Pakistan, have similar provisions.”
Besides, the European Union is working on a framework law, under which steps will be taken in different countries, law will be enacted," he said.
France has similar laws, he added. “So, since the RSF is already hostile towards Bangladesh, they have taken Bangladesh down a few steps. We reject it outright.”