National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman Nasima Begum on Sunday emphasised the need for public-private initiatives for the protection and promotion of human rights in the country.
"No one has been given the power to take away freedom of expression. The right to express one's opinion is a universal right. But freedom of expression does not mean hurting others. In this case, every citizen is expected to behave responsibly," she said.
Nasima Begum was addressing a virtual meeting jointly hosted by the NHRC and ARTICLE 19, reads a press release.
As the chief guest, she further said, "He who commits corruption or conceals information does so in violation of the rights of others."
Former NHRC chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque joined the meeting as the guest of honour which was chaired by ARTICLE 19 South Asia Regional Director Faruq Faisel.
Kazi Reazul said, "Freedom of expression is a fundamental right. The protection of those who exercise this right, including journalists, must be ensured. At the same time, it is necessary to create an environment where the media can work independently."
Faruq Faisel said, "With a free and independent media environment, personal safety and security of journalists is inextricably linked. Bangladesh lags behind in South Asia in terms of security of media workers and freedom of expression. This situation has tarnished the progress of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of Bangladesh.
"The 16th goal of the SDGs is to establish good governance, such as peace, justice, strong institutions and an inclusive society. To achieve this goal, it is important to ensure freedom of expression as a whole," added Faisel.
Rajshahi University Mass Communication and Journalism Professor and ARTICLE 19 Project Consultant Dr Pradip Kumar Panday; Supreme Court Lawyer Mahabubul Islam, human rights researcher Dr AKM Saifullah, officials of both ARTICLE 19 and the Commission also joined the meeting.
Progress of the ARTICLE 19 project titled 'Securing Safeguard for Media Workers in Bangladesh' with the funding of the Embassy of Denmark was highlighted at the event.
The NHRC chairman also called for swift investigation and action against the culprits if any evidence of negligence was found in the blast at a mosque in Narayanganj.