- Bail of a local journalist is good news
- One of my top priorities is working with the Bangladesh government and the private sector to get vaccines and other urgently needed health supplies here quickly.
US Ambassador to Bangladesh, Earl R Miller, said on Sunday that journalists should be free to pursue the truth without fear of censorship, harassment, or arrest, as they perform an indispensable public service.
"The bail of a local journalist is good news," he said, about Prothom Alo journalist Rozina Islam, at the "US-Bangladesh Economic Relations: Migration to a developing nation" virtual event, organised by AmCham, the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh.
"I want to talk of some good news today regarding a local journalist's bail hearing that I am following very closely as Washington is. Because we should actually remember that progress in economic development goes hand in hand with democratic progress, something we should highlight as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of an independent Bangladesh and its remarkable progress in the last five decades," he said.
''Journalists protect and serve us all. They deserve our admiration and support. We are indebted to them," he added.
The US ambassador said, "Journalists and an unfettered press help us learn the truth, sometimes unpleasant and disagreeable, about our elected leaders, our government, and ourselves. That makes our societies better. It makes us stronger."
"A free press gives voice to the voiceless, exposes injustice and corruption, and holds leaders and those in power accountable. Free and open societies have an obligation to protect a free press," he added.
One of my top priorities is to get the vaccines
Miller said, "One of my top priorities at the Embassy is working with the Bangladesh government and the private sector to get the vaccines, oxygen concentrators, PPE and other urgently needed health supplies here quickly."
US President Biden reaffirmed his commitment to leading an international and coordinated vaccination effort, announcing last week that the US will donate 80 million vaccines worldwide, Miller also said.
The US is donating $4 billion to the COVAX global vaccine program. America is, once again, the largest contributor by far, he added.
He said the United States was one of the first countries to mobilise funds to support Bangladesh's pandemic response efforts.
"The US has contributed over $76 million to Bangladesh's pandemic response in the past 14 months. This is in addition to the $1 billion dollars in US health assistance to Bangladesh over the past 20 years."