Media self-censorship growing in Bangladesh

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Asianbangla Desk : Reporters Sans Frontières criticised the Information and Communication Technology Act in Bangladesh saying that media self-censorship is growing as a result of the endemic violence against journalists and media outlets in the country.

Releasing its annual World Press Freedom Index 2018 today, Reporters Without Borders said, “In 2017, at least 25 journalists and several hundred bloggers and Facebook users were prosecuted under the Information and Communication Technology Act, which penalizes online content that is regarded as defamatory or blasphemous.”

According to the Index, Bangladesh’s position remains unchanged at 146th place like previous year with 48.62 points.

The report in Bangladesh chapter said, “Instead of amending this law, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government proposed a new digital security law in early 2018 with vaguely-worded provisions that would allow the authorities to clamp down even more on dissent.”

It also said,“In Bangladesh, it is a bad idea to criticize the constitution or Islam, although the country is officially secular.”

“Journalists and bloggers who resist censorship or self-censorship on these subjects risk life imprisonment or the death penalty, while Islamist militants often issue online calls for the murder of outspoken secularist bloggers and writers.”

It also said, “There is real pluralism, but media self-censorship is growing as a result of the endemic violence against journalists and media outlets, and the almost systematic impunity enjoyed by those responsible.”

According to the report, Myanmar, India and Pakistan are in better position as they ranked 137, 138 and 139th positions respectively.

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