Thursday 16.6.2016 in Expression in Bangladesh Country Page
There are clear efforts to curtail freedom of expression in Bangladesh. Mass arrests, arbitrary detention and extrajudicial killings threaten independent dissent. In the last year and a half 89 people including free thinkers, minorities, university professors and publishers have been killed. The state authorities neither protected them nor took steps to prevent these targeted killings. No credible cases have been filed against anyone as yet. More recently, in the last six months journalists have been jailed with unsubstantiated allegations of treason and conspiracy. An independent media editor was also charged with 84 law suits of defamation and treason in February 2016. The cases were filed by the supporters of the ruling party, and thought to be politically motivated. Two free-thinking bloggers, a gay rights activist and several members of a minority community were murdered in the last six months. The attack against bloggers and free thinkers started in 2013 when Ahmed Rajib Haider was accused of writing against the prophet Mohammed and was murdered. This was followed by the murder of Avijit Roy in broad daylight. Amid massive criticism, thousands of people were arrested in an anti-terrorist drive. The media, which enjoyed a fair amount of freedom until a few years ago, is increasingly coming under state scrutiny. Private companies have been prevented from advertising in independent newspapers. A national broadcasting policy is under consideration which may continue the clamp down on freedom of expression.