Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Sunday said the role of free, independent and responsible media is very crucial in moving the country forward.
"I think free, independent and responsible media are very important in taking the country forward and building a multifaceted society," he said.
The minister made the remarks in his online speech from his office at the Bangladesh Secretariat on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day 2020.
Greeting journalists and all others concerned with the media on the occasion, the minister said the country's journalists and others engaged in media are working with a great risk amid this global coronavirus pandemic.
Referring to the death of journalist Humayun Kabir Khokon from coronavirus he contracted while on duty, the minister prayed for salvation of his departed soul.
He said the present government believes in freedom of the press. This is why the media saw huge expansion after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came to power in 2009, Dr Mahmud added.
The number of dailies in the country increased to 1,294 in 2020 from 445 in 2009, while that of weeklies to 1,208 now from 208 in 2009, he said.
Providing statistics over electronic media, he said the number of state-run televisions was two in 2009, but it is now four.
The number of private television channels was 10 in early 2009, but now 45 private television channels have got permission, said the minister adding that there was no FM radio in 2009, but now 24 FM radio stations have got permission and most of them are in operation.
There was no community radio in the country in 2009, but now 32 community radio stations have been given permission, he said noting that many of the permitted community radio stations are in operation.
These statistics show that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government believe in the freedom of the media and that is why there has been a huge expansion of media in Bangladesh in the last 11 years, the Information Minister added.