, LLM, Rajshahi University; Assistant Professor, Department of Law & Justice, Southeast University, Dhaka; Independent Researcher and Freelance Journalist based in Dhaka, Bangladesh
This article explores the balancing of freedom of the press and reasonable restrictions in Bangladesh under existing national laws and relevant international policy instruments. Across the globe, there is unending debate as to indoctrination of free press and reasonable restrictions. Bangladesh is not an exception to the tussle between these two notions. The free but fair press enables public debates and creates essential checks on government powers. The question of reasonable restrictions on press appears at the forefront of discussion as the press is also engaging in serving self-interest or value loaded vested interests vilifying its objectivity, impartiality, and accuracy. Though, the press and other media outlets of the country are partly free, the ongoing restrictions imposed by statutory laws and self-censorship have plunged the media into a stagnated ditch. However, journalists and media activists are gradually striving to overcome the hurdles of restrictions foreseeing a silver lining. On one hand, the country is globally lauded for its exponential progress in terms of economic, social and international goals and has emerged as an Asian tiger. On the other hand, the country is struggling to uphold the spirit of the free press in nourishing a healthy democracy amid good governance that tolerates diverse, dissent, pluralist views and constructive criticism.
Keywords: press freedom, reasonable restrictions, legal instruments, implications, balancing, Bangladesh.
JEL Classification: L82, K4.
Cite as: Haque, E. (2019). Balancing Freedom of the Press and Reasonable Restrictions in Bangladesh: An Appraisal. Business Ethics and Leadership, 3(1), 80-100. http://doi.org/10.21272/bel.3(1).80-100.2019.
- Ahmed, A. M. (1999). Media Laws and Regulation in Bangladesh: Press Freedom and Its Constraints, IMK, University of Oslo: Oslo.
- Albarran, A. B. (2010). The media and the communication industries: a 21st century perspective. ComHumanitas: revista científica de comunicación, 59-68.
- Anam, M. (2018, Jan 31). Commentary: ‘Analogue Law’ for ‘Digital Bangladesh’. The Daily Star. https://www.thedailystar.net/commentary/commentary-analogue-law-digital-bangladesh-1527565. Accessed 17 December 2018.
- Bhuian, N. M. (2016, May 3). Free Freedom to Ensure Responsible Journalism, Personal Interview with The Daily Star. https://www.thedailystar.net/law-our-rights/law-interview/press-freedom-ensure-responsible-journalism-1217593. Accessed 16 December 2018.
- Bhuiyan, AJM. S. A. (2015, Aug 25). Social Media, Freedom of Expression and the ICT Act. The Daily Star. https://www.thedailystar.net/op-ed/politics/social-media-freedom-expression-and-the-ict-act-131878. Accessed 20 December 2018.
- Bdnews24.com. (2013, Sep 26). HC Rules Contempt of Court Law Illegal. https://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2013/09/26/hc-rules-contempt-of-court-law-illegal. Assessed 30 December 2018.
- Bnnrc.net. (2018, Oct 15). Cabinet Approves New Act to create Independent National Broadcasting Commission for Radio, TV and Online Mass media. https://bnnrc.net/cabinet-approves-new-act-to-create-independent-national-broadcasting-commission-for-radio-tv-and-online-mass-media/. Accessed 26 December 2018.
- Cillizza, C. (2014, June 25). Americans don’t trust the media. That’s a bad thing. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2014/06/25/americans-dont-trust-the-media-thats-a-very-bad-thing/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.19e2c12f8532. Accessed 30 December 2018.
- Dunham, J. (2017). Press Freedom’s Dark Horizon. Freedom House Report. https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-press/freedom-press-2017. Accessed 16 December 2018.
- Farhana, T. (2014, March 21). Bangladesh Media: Development and Challenges. The Diplomat. https://thediplomat.com/2014/03/bangladeshs-media-development-and-challenges/. Accessed 31 December 2018.
- Freedom House (2018, Nov 1). Freedom on the Net – Bangladesh. Available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/5be16b2513.html. Accessed 17 December 2018.
- Hamid, A. (2016, Feb 6). Speech of President of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. The Daily Star. https://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/speech-president-abdul-hamid-213421. Accessed 19 December 2018.
- Harrower, T. (2005). Inside Reporting, New York. https://mssantillanesdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/inside-reporting.pdf. 19-135. Accessed 20 December 2018.
- Hasan, K. (2018, Jan 11). Survey: 57% readers skeptical on media reports. The Dhaka Tribune. https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/nation/2018/01/11/readers-sceptical-media-reports. Accessed 29 December 2018.
- Heywood, A. (2000). Key Concepts in Politics, Palgrave Macmillan, New York. 190-200.
- Hooper, D. (1987). Official Secrets: The Use and Abuse of the Act, London, Secker & Warburg.
- Herbert, J. (2000). Journalism in the Digital Age: Theory and Practice for Broadcast, Print and Online Media, Oxford, Boston: Focal Press.
- Hudock, A. (2003). Hearing the Voices of the Poor: Encouraging Good Governance and Poverty Reduction through Media Sector Support, Washington D. C.: World Learning.
- Islam, M. (1995). Constitutional Law of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs (BILIA), Dhaka, 208.
- Itule, B., Anderson, D. A. (2007). News Writing and Reporting for Today’s Media, 7th Edition, McGraw Hill New York, USA.
- Jahangir, M. (2015, June 16). Manik Miah: A Legendary Journalist. The Daily Star. https://www.thedailystar.net/op-ed/manik-miah-legendary-journalist-97522. Accessed 15 December 2018.
- Kabir, N. (2003). Media Regime in Bangladesh: Rule of Obstructive Law’, A Paper Presented at Odhikar’s Workshop on Media, Democracy and Human Rights, Dhaka: Odhikar.
- Kelly, M., Mazzoleni, G. and McQuail, D. (eds.), (2004). The Media in Europe: the Euromedia Handbook, London: Sage.
- Khan, T., Kaarishma, S. E. (2014). Freedom of the Press in Bangladesh. The International Journal of Social Sciences, 25(1), 11-23.
- Khatun, A., Abir, J. I., Rahman, M. Rahman, M. G. (2017). Press Freedom Dynamics in Bangladesh in Elsebeth Frey, Mofizur Rhaman and Hamida El Bour (eds.). Negotiating Journalism. Core Values and Cultural Diversities. Göteborg: Nordicom. http://www.nordicom.gu.se/sites/default/files/kapitel-pdf/07_khatun_et_al.pdf. Accessed 25 December 2018.
- Majumdar, A. (2007, Sep 21). Bangladesh Suspends Magazine over Controversial Character. The Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bangladesh-cartoon/bangladesh-suspends-magazine-over-controversial-cartoon-idUSSP17474120070921. Accessed 26 December 2018.
- Manik, J. A. (2014, Aug 14). Censorship in True Sense. The Dhaka Tribune. Available at: https://www.dhakatribune.com/uncategorized/2014/08/14/censorship-in-the-true-sense. Accessed 20 December 2018.
- Manuli, G. (2013, May 7). Less than 14% of the World Lives in Countries with Free Press. Global Investigative Journalism Network. https://gijn.org/2013/05/07/less-than-14-of-the-world-lives-in-countries-with-a-free-press/. Accessed 25 December 2018.
- Marx, G. T. (2001). Censorship and Secrecy, Social and Legal Perspectives. International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. http://web.mit.edu/gtmarx/www/cenandsec.html. Accessed 12 December 2018.
- Milton, J. (1990). Areopagitica in Complete English Poems, Of Education, ed. Gordon Campbell, London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd. First Published in 1644.
- Rabbi, A. R. (2018, Aug 10). Number of ICT Cases on the Rise Again. The Dhaka Tribune. https://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/law-rights/2018/08/10/number-of-ict-cases-on-the-rise-again. Accessed 14 December 2018.
- Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF). (2018, April 26). Bangladesh has the Worst Media Freedom in South Asia. https://worldtimes24.com/bd-worst-media-freedom-sa/. Accessed 29 December 2018.
- Singhvi, A. (2016, June 21). When Journalists are Killed, Prosecutions are Rare. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/06/17/world/journalists-killed-prosecutions-rare.html. Accessed 28 December 2018.
- White, A. (2015, Feb 19). The 5 Core Values of Journalism. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNidQHk5SZs. Accessed 28 December 2018.
- Yew, L. K. (1971, June 9). Address of the President of Singapore to the General Assembly of the International Press Institute at Helsinki. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31582842. Accessed 31 December 2018.
- Zamir, M. (2018, Sep 1). Using freedom of expression responsibly. The Dhaka Tribune. https://www.dhakatribune.com/opinion/op-ed/2018/09/01/using-the-freedom-of-expression-responsibly. Accessed 16 December 2018.