Distinguished Professor Dr. Ali Riaz was quoted in a report of the German International broadcaster Deutsche Walle (DW) on the freedom of press in Bangladesh. The report, titled “Attacked and harassed — How Bangladeshi journalists are paying the price for COVID-19 reporting,” focuses on the recent incidents of arrests of reporters and efforts to muzzle the press in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

International human rights groups have alleged that the Bangladeshi government is trying to stop reporting on misappropriation of relief funds by ruling party leaders. Cases against several journalists have been filed in the past weeks. Riaz said: “There is no doubt that the government is trying to control information; it wants to conceal information about the misappropriation of relief materials and a lack of preparedness to deal with the health crisis. The restrictions on healthcare workers regarding their engagement with the media and punitive actions against doctors are part of a strategy.”

He also noted that Bangladesh is experiencing an “incremental erosion of democracy” under the ruling Awami League party.