Interviews | The Daily Star
  • The trials of Julian Assange

    Stefania Maurizi is an investigative journalist working for the Italian daily La Repubblica. She has worked on all WikiLeaks releases of secret documents and partnered with Glenn Greenwald to reveal the Snowden Files about Italy. She has authored two books—Dossier WikiLeaks: Segreti Italiani and Una Bomba, Dieci Storie. In an exclusive (electronic) interview with Eresh Omar Jamal of The Daily Star, Maurizi talks about the continued arbitrary detention of Julian Assange, why powerful governments see WikiLeaks as an existential threat, and the implications for global press freedom if Assange is prosecuted for publishing secret government documents.

  • A mission to reach the most vulnerable

    Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), established by renowned educationist and philanthropist Khan Bahadur Ahsanullah, with the motto of providing humanitarian service, has come a long way since its inception 60 years ago.

  • 'Drug policies should be first of all concerned with preserving public health'

    Bangladesh's recent impetus on cracking down on drug abuse and trade has led to some divisive results—while there is no doubt that this is an issue that needs to be addressed, the approach taken by the authorities has been questioned.

  • 'In Bangladesh, democracy was not allowed to take root'

    Sultana Kamal, lawyer and human rights activist, member of CPD board of trustees, former Executive Director of Ain o Salish Kendra, and former advisor to the caretaker government of Bangladesh, talks to Eresh Omar Jamal of The Daily Star about the upcoming national elections and the state of human rights in Bangladesh.

  • ‘No matter who wins the election, people will lose': In conversation with Prof Serajul Islam Choudhury

    Eminent thinker and writer Professor Serajul Islam Choudhury, in this interview with Badiuzzaman Bay of The Daily Star, outlines his views about the current state of leftist politics, the upcoming election, and the future of politics and youth leadership in Bangladesh.

  • Transport owners, insurers need to be held liable for a lasting change: Catherine Masud

    On the occasion of the National Road Safety Day today, noted filmmaker Catherine Masud talks to Nahela Nowshin of The Daily Star about her own journey of navigating the justice system, what the recent student-led road safety movement has achieved, and the shortcomings of the recently passed Road Transport Act 2018.

  • 'Only direct election can empower women politically'

    Ayesha Khanam, president of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, talks to Naznin Tithi of The Daily Star about the importance of increasing the number of reserved seats for women in parliament and holding direct elections for those seats.

  • Strengthening Bangladesh's position in the IP landscape

    How far do you think Bangladesh has progressed in terms of protecting its Intellectual Property (IP) rights? Why is it important for a country?

  • Every garment unit must have a complaint committee

    Shojag is working to end gender-based violence in our garments industry. It is a coalition of five organisations—Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), the Human Rights and legal Aid Services (HRLS) Programme of BRAC,

  • Solving our waterlogging woes

    Iqbal Habib, Member Secretary, Urbanisation & Governance Programme, Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (Bapa), talks to Naznin Tithi of The Daily Star about why lack of coordination among the agencies concerned is the main barrier to solving Dhaka's waterlogging problem and how this issue should be addressed.

  • Why women migrant workers are compelled to come back

    From the human rights perspective, the treatment received by thousands of Bangladeshi female workers at the hands of their employers constitutes a grave violation of their rights. Can a human being work for 17–18 hours tirelessly without any day-off—that too at very low wages?

  • Health budget does not address affordable, quality healthcare

    For the last 10 years, the budgetary allocation for health has been constantly around five percent of the total budget. If at least 3 percent of the GDP could be spent on health, it could have a major impact. Generally, the government provides allocation to public hospitals based on the number of beds. The amount allocated for each bed is very small. But as the number of people seeking treatment is much higher than the number of beds available, these extra people do not get any portion of the budgetary allocation.

  • Rohingya case, a litmus test for the world community

    CR Abrar, Professor of International Relations at the University of Dhaka, talks to Eresh Omar Jamal about Myanmar's genocidal campaign against the Rohingyas and the international community's unfortunate but overwhelming silence in response.

  • Our economic and political choices now will determine our children's future

    Unicef and other organisations have been advocating for a long time that this allocation should be at least 20 percent of the total. What are your thoughts on this year's proposed allocation? I think it's a milestone moment for Bangladesh. Bangladesh is on the path of transition to a developing country. Now, alongside rapid economic development, inequality can also grow. But there are also more resources available, so the economic and political choices that are made today will determine the future.

  • Prioritising effective social safety net projects

    The idea of the universal pension scheme is new, but it's just a good idea. With our bureaucratic inefficiency, it's highly unlikely that we would be able to make headway in this regard in the near future.

  • Are we giving enough priority to education?

    The size of our budget is continually expanding. So, on the face of it, we will see that the allocation for education has increased. But if we take a closer look, we will see that as a percentage of the total budget, the allocation has actually decreased. Even in the revised budget of the last fiscal year, the education budget was over 12 percent of the total. Now in 2018-19, even before the revision—budget allocation usually decreases after revision—the allocation has been reduced to 11.41 percent. This is disappointing.

  • A problem of vision and strategic thinking

    In the education circle, the low share of GDP allocation for education in the national budget is a recurrent theme. Benchmark numbers in this respect are 6 percent of GDP and/or at least 20 percent of the national budget (depending on the public finance structure of the country) as recommended by UNESCO and at other international forums. Bangladesh's public spending for education is only about one-third by GDP measure and a little over half by national budget measure of what is recommended.

  • Without reforms in the system, tax money will be spent in vain

    What's your take on the FY19 budget, particularly in light of an election year?

  • Budget should initiate more investment in human resources

    Syed Manzoorul Islam, retired professor of Dhaka University, who is currently teaching at ULAB and is a member of the board of trustees at Transparency International Bangladesh, talks to Eresh Omar Jamal about the latest proposed budgetary allocation to the education sector and its underlying implications.

  • What has changed since the Spectrum disaster?

    The Spectrum factory building collapsed on April 11, 2005. I remember, I was returning to Dhaka from Rajshahi. No one was prepared for a disaster of such a devastating magnitude. The army was called in immediately for the rescue operation. In the meantime, almost 73 people were killed, with a few hundred others injured.

  • Silencing Julian Assange

    US based journalist Elizabeth Lea Vos, Editor-in-Chief of Disobedient Media, who was one of the panellists at an online vigil held for Assange hours after the imposition of the ban, talks to Eresh Omar Jamal of The Daily Star, about the latest restrictions placed on Assange and its implications for press freedom around the world.

  • Justice is the only way to prevent recurrence of genocide

    Eminent Indian political psychologist and social theorist Ashis Nandy talks to Shamsuddoza Sajen of The Daily Star about various aspects of genocide in the context of South Asia, particularly Bangladesh.

  • Changing the world page by page

    For Selina Hossain, the year 2018 has been a wonderful one so far. For one, she recently won the prestigious Independence Day Award, better known as the Shwadhinata Padak, for her contribution to literature. The Independence Day Award is the highest state award given by the government of Bangladesh. “I was of course delighted and also very surprised,” says the famous novelist, Selina Hossain.

  • Syed Manzoorul Islam

    'Make question paper leaks redundant'

    "Our examinations hardly test the students' creativity; these are geared more toward testing their memory. Take the MCQ system. It's a quick and snappy way to judge the proficiency of students in a particular topic," says Syed Manzoorul Islam.

  • Freedom of the seas: A cornerstone of economic growth

    First of all, we are talking about the freedom of the seas, that is to say, anyone can have access to the seas. I believe this is a cornerstone of economic growth and is a view widely shared and recognised by the international community.

  • Where our education system has failed

    We have done well to ensure people have access to education. But we have not yet managed to provide quality education for all segments of the population. Providing quality education is without a doubt the biggest challenge.

  • You can't put a price on a forest

    How can you put a value on the oxygen that the trees of the forest produce? Or the food it supplies to the animals?

  • 'Whoever touches Jerusalem will be walking into fire'

    US President Donald Trump has recently recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital, drawing sharp international criticism and threatening Yousef Ramadan, Head of Mission at the Embassy of the State of Palestine in Bangladesh, talks to Badiuzzaman Bay of The Daily Star about the unilateral US decision, its implications, and what Bangladesh can learn from the Palestinian experience to deal with the Rohingya crisis.

  • Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman

    Corruption is anti-development

    Corruption is pervasive in Bangladesh, a key challenge against development and social transformation. Corruption is so deep and wide at both micro and micro levels that it threatens to become a way of life.

  • Dr Maung Zarni

    “Ending the genocide is not profitable”

    First, I have been a human rights and political activist for the last 29 years. I can't call myself a human rights defender and turn my back on my own country's genocide, like most human rights defenders in Myanmar are doing today.