The judiciary and the news media are both vital institutions in a functioning democracy and must support each other to advance the cause of justice and human rights, eminent jurist Dr. Kamal Hossain said in a keynote speech at a seminar in the city on Saturday.
While speaking at the third Cosmos Dialogue organised by Cosmos Foundation, titled “The Media and the Judiciary in Bangladesh,” he pointed out that as per article 39/B of the constitution of Bangladesh, freedom of press is guaranteed.
He also stressed the role of the judiciary as the true guardians of the constitution.
“Only an independent judiciary can protect freedom of press from adverse effects of power, which we had seen back in 1966 when dailies such as Ittefaq and Sangbad were forfeited,” Dr Hossain observed.
The eminent jurist also noted that it is the essence of the constitution that the three constitutional organs (the executive, the legislative and the judiciary) coordinate with each other and avert confrontation.
In response to a question from the audience, Dr. Kamal Hossain said power is vested in the people under the constitution and that power must be exercised through elected representatives.
“For the country to prosper, we need active and engaged citizens,” he said, adding, “We need to find common ground as a nation.”
Prominent academics, lawyers, journalists and civil society members attended the event, arranged by Cosmos Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Cosmos Group.
Cosmos Foundation is organising a series of discussions on contemporary issues, titled the Cosmos Dialogue, with the aim of promoting understanding through debate.
The speakers also emphasised the need for open justice, which calls for justice in a transparent and accountable manner.
Several panelists expressed concern that the proposed Digital Security Act 2016 may further curtail freedom of speech in social media.
The speakers surmised that news must not be sensationalised, which might compromise its credibility in the eyes of the public.