US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl Miller on Thursday said journalists should be free to pursue the truth without fear of censorship, harassment, or arrest as they perform this life-saving service.
"You are all genuine heroes. I love how health workers are publicly applauded in many countries. They should be, and so should journalists, everywhere. You deserve our immense gratitude," he said while delivering his speech at a virtual launching ceremony for 'Online COVID-19 Course for Doctors.'
The US Ambassador said they honour all journalists, everywhere, who have sacrificed their lives, freedom and personal well-being in pursuit of truth and justice.
"Press freedom plays an essential role in providing the facts and accurate information needed to keep citizens informed and safe amid the COVID-19 crisis," said Ambassador Miller.
Quoting Thomas Jefferson, the US envoy said, "Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost."
Appreciating journalists' role, Miller said, "You provide what any vibrant democracy needs, especially in times of crisis – objective information, facts and the truth."
The work of journalists, photojournalists, and media outlets often comes with sacrifice, including here in Bangladesh, he said.
"We honor the journalists who have fallen ill from COVID-19 and their selfless dedication to public service," said the US envoy.
On World Press Freedom Day, on May 3, the United States joined countries around the world reaffirming the universal right of free expression and the essential role press freedom plays in protecting democracy and keeping citizens informed and safe.
"This year, we paid special tribute to those journalists who work tirelessly, often under stressful and dangerous conditions, to inform the public about the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.
The Ambassador said these are challenging times for all of them but Bangladesh and the United States, and nations around the world, are working together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
"America's commitment to Bangladesh has never been stronger. And, our commitment to each other has never been more important," he said.
The US government, through USAID, joined hands with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and launched an online course on COVID-19 for doctors across Bangladesh on Thursday.
This course will enhance doctor's knowledge of safety precautions in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
The virtual platform also makes it easier for doctors from around the country to freely access this course at their convenience.