A recent claim by U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas on the inclusion of media persons under the newly announced visa restriction policy has torn apart the commitment of U.S. envoy towards upholding freedom of the press.
A number of senior journalists, who worked with Western outlets for decades, pulled up Mr. Haas for exerting pressure on the media, with many likening this move “waging a war on press”, a clear pointer that Haas is out to undermine the space for media freedom often touted by US a cornerstone of foreign policy.
Faced with questions over the potential impact of visa imposition on media persons, US State Department spokesperson Mathew Millar refrained from mentioning media in the list but Haas in a brazen manner asserted that media persons are not immune from visa restriction.
So scaring media with visa threats through public appearances is almost synonymous with asking media to toe in line with only what you intend the media to publish, a clear attempt to penalize media in case of personalities claimed in reference to Haas’s claim.
Since his arrival to Bangladesh, Haas remained hell-bent on stoking a ceaseless clamour over media freedom in Bangladesh but his rants now flew in the face of this veiled threat issued by none other than Haas himself.