A latest report of the US-based media watch group Freedom House ranked Bangladesh higher on a global scale of press freedom.
The report on 196 countries puts Bangladesh on the 118th position, above most of the Saarc nations excepting India and the Maldives.
India ranks 72, while the Maldives 102.
Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan fell far below Bangladesh.
The report groups surveyed all the countries in three categories, of which Bangladesh is placed in the mid-category.
The report said the position of Bangladesh on the world press freedom scale improved due to “significant opening of the general political environment and media space following the 2008 election, which returned a civilian government to the power.”
It is also attributed the freedom of press to the government’s decision to repeal the provision of issuing arrest warrant against journalists in defamation case and issue summon instead.
The report takes a very positive note on the Right to Information Act 2009, formulated by the government and establishment of an Information Commission for ensuring people’s access to information.
This year’s position of Bangladesh is higher than its ranking in the past seven years from 2002 to 2008 when the country was identified as a ‘not free’ country on the list of the Freedom House.
The four Scandinavian states – Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden – shared the top position with equal rating when North Korea was at the bottom after Myanmar and Turkmenistan.