Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said his ministry will have to face question from international community for the whole incident regarding Prothom Alo Senior Journalist Rozina Islam.
The minister made the remarks when his comment on sought on the issue of Rozina Islam after his meeting with South Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Jang-keun at State guesthouse Padma.
"It's very regrettable. The government of Sheikh Hasina is a media-friendly one. We've nothing to hide. I know, as Foreign Ministry, we've to face it. Many will raise questions. We don't want such incidents," Dr Momen said, adding that "you (questioner) may be right" that few people bring bad fame for the government.
The minister remarked that the government is working in full capacity to ensure freedom of press.
"Journalists are part of our development. Because of their work, we learned about many incidents of corruption," he said.
Dr Momen appreciated the role of the media in unearthing many stories, including the pillow saga and Shahed Karim issues, reports UNB.
"The government has taken action (after those stories were published). You (media) help the government. You're part of the government. You're helping us (govt) much. We thank you," he said.
Dr Momen referred to what ruling Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said on Wednesday and appreciated his remarks.
Hanif said the incident that took place at the Secretariat with journalist Rozina Islam was undesirable and that the country would have benefited if strict action had been taken against the corrupt instead of filing cases against journalists.
Dr Momen said this should be managed by the Health Ministry. "We can say it's a regrettable matter for our government."
The Foreign Minister said since it is subjudice matter he cannot talk about it details. "The only thing is it's regrettable. The incident what happened is very regrettable. We expect it will not repeat again."
Referring to what his other colleagues said, Dr Momen said Rozina will get justice. "It's unexpected."
Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister assured that Bangladesh will soon get ample doses of Covid-19 vaccines.
"All the process regarding China's Sinovac will be set out by this week," he said.
Additionally, the documentation process is ongoing with Russia for receiving Sputnik V doses.
Bangladesh has also sought vaccines from India, US and Canada, the minister added.
On the issue of Rozina Islam's harassment and arrest, a number of international organisations have expressed their concerns over freedom of press in Bangladesh including United Nations (UN), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Amnesty International.
Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, said this in response to a question during a regular media briefing on Tuesday.
"We've seen the press reports on the journalist who was arrested in Bangladesh. It is, obviously, something that we are looking at. It is something that's concerning. Our position has been clear."
HRW said the detention of journalist Rozina Islam a major strike against media freedom and that it sends a terrifying message to journalists uncovering corruption in Bangladesh. They urged authorities to drop all oppressive charges against Rozina Islam, reads a press release.
Amnesty International South Asia Campaigner Saad Hammadi said, "The prosecution of Rozina Islam under the Official Secrets Act is a brazen attack on the right to freedom of expression and the ability of Bangladeshi society to seek and receive information."
He also noted information about how the government is procuring Covid-19 vaccines is in the public interest and should not be hidden behind national security locks.
Prothom Alo Senior Reporter Rozina was kept confined at the health ministry for more than five hours on Monday before being handed over to police.
Later, she was shown arrested in the case on charges of spiriting away "important" documents.
Investigative journalist Rozina, known for dozens of ground-breaking reports in her career, was charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act 1923.
Rozina Islam is known for her strong reportage of official corruption. She has recently made several investigative reports revealing corruptions in the health sector.