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Press Freedom News and Views


Blog   |   Bangladesh

Case will test Bangladesh and its commitment to justice for bloggers

Bangladeshi protesters hold torches in a demonstration against the murder of Niloy Neel, the fourth blogger killed in the country this year. (AFP/Munir uz Zaman)

Murder charges filed this week against five suspected Islamist militants in the killing of a Bangladesh blogger give the government a chance to prove it's serious about protecting the nation's bloggers. The formal charges, filed in connection with the March killing of Washiqur Rahman Babu, mark the first time charges have been brought in any of the four blogger slayings so far this year, according to news reports.

Blog   |   Bangladesh

Hasina government must do more to protect Bangladesh's bloggers

Bangladeshi activists protest the killing of secular blogger Niloy Neel in Dhaka on August 11, 2015. (AP/ A.M. Ahad)

Asif Mohiuddin's stab wounds are still visible two years on. In January 2013, the outspoken Bangladeshi blogger narrowly escaped death after he was attacked near his office by knife-wielding assailants. His attackers stabbed him nine times on his neck, head, and back, narrowly missing his spine.

Blog   |   Bangladesh

Mission Journal: Bangladeshi press reined in as Hasina exerts authority

A 2007 election poster for Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Independent journalists in the country say the press is coming under pressure from her government. (AFP/Jewel Samad)

Matiur Rahman Chowdhury has been the host of "Frontline," a popular Bangla-language news show, for five years. Aired live three times a week, the show gained notoriety for bringing politicians, members of civil society, and journalists together to discuss current affairs. Chowdhury distinguished himself from many of his counterparts with his soft-spoken but firm demeanor as he led his guests in substantive discussion, rather than presiding over talking heads trying to drown one another out. At a time when much of the broadcast media in Bangladesh has become muted, talk shows like Chowdhury's were one of the last spaces for critical news coverage.

Blog   |   Bangladesh

Restrictive broadcast policy in Bangladesh raises concerns

Journalists surround Bangladeshi Attorney General Mahbubey Alam following a verdict at the International Crimes Tribunal court premises in Dhaka on January 21, 2013. (AFP/Munir uz Zaman)

This week, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's cabinet approved a restrictive policy governing Bangladesh's broadcast media. While the policy calls for the creation of an independent commission to oversee electronic media--a positive step, in principle--it's unclear how and how quickly the commission will be formed. Meanwhile, the policy restricts what can be broadcast, raising red flags.

Blog   |   Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, journalist summoned for criticism of court

It's not the first time, and it likely won't be the last: Bangladesh's International Crimes Tribunal has demonstrated little tolerance for criticism of its activities. Last week, the tribunal launched contempt of court proceedings against Dhaka-based British journalist David Bergman for his blog posts on the court. 

Blog   |   Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Sri Lanka

Journalists can help curb gender-based violence

Training journalists how to better cover gender-based violence can help challenge attitudes that foster sexual attacks. Helping journalists learn personal skills to safely navigate sexual aggression can help prevent them from becoming victims themselves.

Blog   |   Bangladesh

Journalists and imperfect justice in Bangladesh

Bangladesh's Supreme Court has hardened the sentence against Abdul Quader Molla, a top Islamist of a key opposition party, from a life term to death for his role in mass killings committed during the country's war of independence from Pakistan in 1971. But what caught my eye in particular was that Molla was also convicted on a separate charge of murdering a prominent journalist, Khandoker Abu Taleb, on March 29, 1971.

Blog   |   Bangladesh

Q&A: Nadia Sharmeen on journalists in Bangladesh

Nadia Sharmeen was attacked when she tried to cover a protest in April. (Ekushey TV)

It has been a turbulent year for journalists in Bangladesh. It began with blogger Asif Mohiuddin being stabbed in January as he left his office in Dhaka. The following month, blogger Ahmed Rajib Haider was killed for his writing. Four other bloggers, including Mohiuddin, were arrested in early April (all four have been released on bail, but still face criminal charges). Meanwhile, an editor of a pro-opposition newspaper is imprisoned.

August 9, 2013 10:58 AM ET


Blog   |   Bangladesh

Historic judgment for Gautam Das murder in Bangladesh

Almost eight years have passed since the murder of Bangladeshi journalist Gautam Das, but the slow wheels of justice have finally rotated. Late last month, a court sentenced nine individuals to life in prison in connection with the scribe's murder. Many local journalists have hailed the verdict as a landmark, the first time a Bangladeshi court has successfully prosecuted a murder of a journalist.

Blog   |   Bangladesh

Slideshow: Is Bangladesh spiraling out of control?

As political turmoil continues between Islamists and secularists in Bangladesh, the climate for press freedom is rapidly deteriorating. The tensions stem from an ongoing war crimes tribunal tasked with prosecuting genocide, crimes against humanity, and other crimes dating back to the 1971 war of independence. 

April 19, 2013 12:37 PM ET


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