Liton Das of Bangladesh Issues an Apology Following the Expulsion of Media Personnel
East and South Asia Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
In a surprising turn of events, Bangladeshi cricketer Liton Das found himself at the center of controversy during the ongoing Cricket World Cup. This incident, deemed unprecedented by many, unfolded when Liton called for security to disperse journalists gathered outside the team hotel in Pune, sparking concerns about media freedom and ethical considerations in sports coverage (France24, 16 October 2023; Dhaka Tribune, 16 October 2023).
Bangladesh, despite their modest cricket performances, boasts one of the most fervently followed teams globally. Liton's actions, as reported by Prothom Alo daily, were met with criticism, with veteran sports journalist Utpal Shuvro expressing that such an incident was unheard of in the history of Bangladesh cricket (France24, 16 October 2023; RFI, 16 October 2023). Liton, who has scored 89 runs in three World Cup matches, faced both accolades and setbacks, notably contributing 76 runs in a single innings against England but enduring a first-ball duck against New Zealand in Chennai (France24, 16 October 2023; Dhaka Tribune, 16 October 2023).
The implications of Liton Das summoning security to disperse journalists extend beyond the realm of sports, touching on broader human rights concerns. Freedom of the press is a cornerstone of democratic societies, and any attempt to hinder journalists in the course of their duty raises questions about the intersection of sports and media ethics. As the media plays an undeniable role in Bangladesh cricket, it becomes imperative to strike a balance between individual privacy and the public's right to information (RFI, 16 October 2023; Dhaka Tribune, 16 October 2023).
As Bangladesh navigates the challenges of the Cricket World Cup, the incident involving Liton Das serves as a reminder of the delicate relationship between athletes and the media. In the pursuit of professional excellence, it is crucial for all stakeholders, including cricketers and journalists, to uphold the values of transparency, accountability, and respect for fundamental rights. Bangladesh's upcoming match against host India provides an opportunity for reflection on how such incidents can be handled with sensitivity, ensuring a harmonious coexistence between sports and media (Dhaka Tribune, 16 October 2023; RFI, 16 October 2023).
France24. (16 October 2023). Bangladesh's Liton apologises after evicting media. Available via https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20231016-bangladesh-s-liton-apologises-after-evicting-media.
Dhaka Tribune. (16 October 2023). Liton apologizes after evicting media. Available at https://www.dhakatribune.com/sport/cricket/328193/liton-apologizes-after-evicting-media.
RFI. (16 October 2023). Bangladesh's Liton apologises after evicting media. Available at https://www.rfi.fr/en/sports/20231016-bangladesh-s-liton-apologises-after-evicting-media.