You are here: Home » Tag Archives: bangladesh

Tag Archives: bangladesh

Feed Subscription

Bangladesh: Beware of what you say on talk shows

Famous talk show hosts like Zillur Rahman and Nobonita Chowdhury, along with their guests, may have to speak more carefully when on television, as they could be jailed for giving "false" or "misleading" information. If there's one thing that has turned global attention to Bangladesh over the past several years, it's the repeated attacks by extremists on secular bloggers, activists and public intellectuals in the country. These assaults have put an unacceptably high price on free speech in Bangladesh, which is the world's eighth most populous country and third-largest Muslim-majority nation. he Bangladeshi government, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed, hasn't helped matters either by cracking down on voices deemed critical of the ruling party and authorities. Journalists and activists have often found themselves in the firing line, sometimes for criticizing the government in international media, as the case of distinguished photojournalist Shahidul Alam demonstrates. Alam was pulled from his home by plain-clothes officers in August and detained for criticizing the government's handling of mass protests by students demanding better road safety. Other prominent cases include the recent arrest of the publisher of the English-language New Nation daily, Mainul Hosein. Police said his arrest was linked to a television talk show appearance where he called a journalist "characterless" for asking him if he represented the political opposition. Strict control over speech To strictly monitor cyberspace and control public discourse, Hasina's government came up with the Digital Security Act (DSA). It contains provisions mandating long prison sentences of up to 14 years or harsh fines for any statement posted online that might disrupt law and order, hurt religious feelings or damage communal harmony. Individuals, including journalists, could be convicted of espionage for entering a government building and gathering information secretly using any electronic device. The act also allows police to search and detain individuals without a warrant. Many inside and outside Bangladesh have lambasted the government for enacting the DSA. They say it's just going to be another instrument for the Hasina administration to silence critics. "This law will not only deal with cybercrimes but also gag the independent media," said Mahfuz Anam, a prominent editor. Even before the dust settles on the digital security act, the government is attempting to put a new broadcast law in place. If it comes into effect, the measure will allow authorities to send someone to jail for giving "false and misleading" information while appearing on television talk shows. It also foresees harsh punishment for fabricating information regarding the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971 and for spreading rumors in broadcast and online media. The bill envisages a Broadcast Commission ,which could act if it finds any advertisement, story, song, or other content going against Bangladeshi "sovereignty" or provoking "militancy, violence, destructive activities" or law and order concerns. "It is very difficult to define what is 'misleading' and what is 'false.' A talk show is an opinion-based show not a news item, and the invited guest's comments generally come from his or her subjective outlook," Fahmidul Haq, a journalism professor at Dhaka University, told DW. "So the idea of expecting 'sincere' and 'absolute truth' in an opinion-based show is wrong in itself," he said. 'Making mass media stronger' Officials and government supporters, however, say the proposed law was aimed at "making broadcasting and online mass media stronger and dynamic." Some point to the recent controversy involving an internationally acclaimed Bangladeshi doctor as justification for the broadcast law. Appearing on a talk show, Zafrullah Chowdhury, the founder of the rural healthcare organization Gonoshasthaya Kendra, claimed that Bangladesh's army chief General Aziz Ahmed was "court-martialed after arms and ammunition had been stolen from Chattogram when the army chief was the general officer commanding there." The statement incensed Bangladesh's military establishment, which lashed out at Chowdhury for making "untrue and irresponsible comments." The doctor later had to recant his remarks and apologize for his "improper statement and wrong choice of words." Bangladesh's cabinet approved the draft of the broadcast law days after Chowdhury apologized to the army chief. But a big concern for critics is that the government will use it to suppress dissent and muzzle the already feeble freedom of expression in Bangladesh. "There is little hope to build safeguards to make sure the proposed law will not be used to muzzle press freedom," said professor Haq. "It is always good to face 'misleading' information by presenting accurate information," he argued, stressing that enacting legislation like the broadcast law that have ample scope for misuse is not the right way to tackle the issue. Bangladesh is expected to hold general elections at the end of December and many fear the proposed law may unduly favor the ruling party by forcing opponents and activists to exercise self-censorship.

Famous talk show hosts like Zillur Rahman and Nobonita Chowdhury, along with their guests, may have to speak more carefully when on television, as they could be jailed for giving “false” or “misleading” information. If there’s one thing that has turned global attention to Bangladesh over the past several years, it’s the repeated attacks by extremists on secular bloggers, activists ... Read More »

UN Rohingya conference: EU pledges millions in aid for refugees

سوئس شہر جنیوا میں آج دنیا میں پیدا ہونے والے مہاجرین سب سے بڑے بحران کے موضوع پر ایک ڈونر کانفرنس کا انعقاد کیا جا رہا ہے۔ اس دوران روہنگیا پناہ گزینوں کے لیے رقم جمع کی جائے گی۔ اقوام متحدہ نے مختلف ممالک سے درخواست کی ہے کہ جنیوا اجلاس کے دوران روہنگیا برادری کے لیے کم از کم 434 ملین ڈالر اکھٹے کیے جائیں۔ روہنگیا کی ہجرت کا معاملہ بنگلہ دیش اور میانمار کے مابین تیزی سے ایک بحران کی صورت اختیار کرتا جا رہا ہے۔ اقوام متحدہ کے ادارے برائے مہاجرین کے سربراہ فیلیپو گرانڈی کے بقول، ’’یہ بہت ہی نازک صورتحال ہے اور اس سلسلے میں امداد کی شدید ضرورت ہے۔‘‘ یہ رقم اقوام متحدہ کے ان مختلف منصوبوں پر خرچ کی جائے گی، جو بنگلہ دیش میں رہائش پذیر روہنگیا کے لیے جاری ہیں۔ بتايا گيا ہے کہ اس امدادی رقم سے آئندہ برس فروری تک کے ليے روہنگيا مسلمانوں کو بنيادی سہوليات فراہم کی جائيں گی۔ تشدد کی وجہ سے میانمار سے فرار ہو کر بنگلہ دیش پہنچنے والے روہنگیا کی تعداد تقریباً چھ لاکھ ہو چکی ہے۔ بنگلہ دیش کا شمار ایشیا کی غریب ترین ریاستوں میں ہوتا ہے، تاہم اس کے باوجود اس ملک نے اپنی سرحدیں روہنگیا مسلمانوں کے لیے کھولی ہوئی ہیں۔ اقوام متحدہ کے ہنگامی امداد کے ادارے کے سربراہ مارک لوکوک نے کہا ہے کہ سالوں سے روہنگیا برادری کے خلاف جاری ظلم و ستم، زیادتی اور نقل مکانی کی وجہ سے اسے کوئی علیحدہ یا الگ تھلگ بحران قرار نہیں دیا جا سکتا ہے۔ رپورٹس کے مطابق ہر دس روہنگیا مہاجر میں سے چھ بچے ہیں اور ان میں سے اکثریت کو کم خوراکی کا سامنا ہے۔ بنگلہ دیش میں شہر کوکس بازار میں اور اس کے ارد گرد قائم مہاجرین کے مراکز میں مقیم روہنگیا کو پانی کی کمی اور نکاسی آب کا نظام نہ ہونے کی وجہ سے ان کیمپوں میں بیماریوں کے پھوٹ پڑنے کے خطرات بڑھتے جا رہے ہیں۔

The EU has pledged €30 million as the UN holds a fundraising conference to aid Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar. More than 600,000 Rohingya have escaped to Bangladesh amid persecution at home. The European Commission on Monday promised to give €30 million ($35 million) as the United Nations opened a fundraising conference in Geneva that aims to secure some ... Read More »

Malaysia slams Myanmar over Rohingya ‘genocide’

Malaysia has accused Myanmar of committing "genocide" against Rohingya Muslims. The bloody crackdown is quickly gaining a regional dimension. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Sunday called on the world to prevent an unfolding "genocide" carried out by Myanmar against Rohingya Muslims, as a vicious crackdown triggers an exodus of the persecuted ethnic minority. "Please do something. The UN do something. The world cannot sit and watch genocide taking place," Najib told a crowd of several thousand supporters and Rohingya refugees at a rally in Kuala Lumpur. Razak took direct aim at Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi and her new government for not doing enough as reports pour in that Myanmar's army is raping, murdering and torturing Rohingya in the western Rakhine state. "What's the use of Aung San Suu Kyi having a Nobel Prize?" asked the leader of the Muslim majority nation. "We want to tell Aung San Suu Kyi, enough is enough ... We must and we will defend Muslims and Islam," he said, calling on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and ASEAN, the 10-country Southeast Asia organization, to act. Stateless and persecuted Several thousand Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh or been internally displaced since Myanmar's army cracked down on the group following an early October border incident in which unknown militants killed nine border guards. Myanmar's army blamed the attack on Islamist Rohingya militants and has rebuffed concerns over the subsequent crackdown as propaganda. Myanmar's 1.1 million Rohingya make up most of the population in the region of Rakhine. They are denied citizenship and suffer from institutionalized discrimination in Buddhist-majority Myanmar despite many of them having lived in the country for generations. There have been repeated reports Myanmar's military has gang raped women, murdered civilians and set ablaze Rohingya villages, pushing thousands of desperate people into neighboring Bangladesh. International observers, journalists and aid agencies face severe restrictions of movement while trying to verify the claims in the area. A top UN humanitarian official in Bangladesh last month accused Myanmar's army of "ethnic cleansing." Tensions rising in Southeast Asia The Rohingya issue has been a major test for Suu Kyi's new administration following decades of military rule. Her unwillingness or inability to do anything about the unfolding atrocities has garnered international criticism that she has done too little to address the plight of the Rohingya communities. But there is also recognition her administration is somewhat limited given the army still holds ministries responsible for security. Systemic discrimination and previous bouts of inter-communal violence between Myanmar's Buddhists and Rohingya sent waves of refugees to neighboring countries. There are more than 50,000 Rohingya in Malaysia, where critics point out that they face discrimination and live on the margins of society. Some observers say Razak is using the Rohingya issue to distract away from a financial corruption scandal. Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya has gained a regional dimension as Indonesia and Bangladesh also call on the international community to take action. Several protests have been held in Indonesia, and last weekend authorities there arrested two militants allegedly planning an attack on Myanmar's embassy in Jakarta. Over the past several years the treatment against Rohingya has become a major issue across the Islamic world Earlier this week the United States' top diplomat for East Asia, Daniel Russel, warned that continued violence against the Rohingya threatened to incite jihadist extremism in Myanmar and neighboring Bangladesh. He also urged Malaysia and Indonesia to avoid stoking religious passion over the issue by organizing protests.

Malaysia has accused Myanmar of committing “genocide” against Rohingya Muslims. The bloody crackdown is quickly gaining a regional dimension. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Sunday called on the world to prevent an unfolding “genocide” carried out by Myanmar against Rohingya Muslims, as a vicious crackdown triggers an exodus of the persecuted ethnic minority. “Please do something. The UN do ... Read More »

Hindu man latest victim in series of hacking murders in Bangladesh

A Hindu man has been murdered on the street in Bangladesh. The death of the 50-year-old tailor is the most recent amid a spate of hacking attacks against minorities in the deeply conservative Muslim nation. Nikhail Chandra Joarder was killed by at least two assailants as he sat on the roadside, according to authorities in the central district of Tangail, where the crime occurred. "They came on a motorcycle and attacked him as he sat on a roadside. They hacked him on his head, neck and hand," deputy district police chief Aslam Khan told French news agency AFP. Religious minorities under threat? Authorities added that they were investigating whether Joarder's death was connected to Islamist militants who are suspected of having carried out a number of similar attacks in recent months. Police officials said that the man had a complaint lodged against him in 2012 by some local Muslims after he allegedly insulted the Prophet Mohammed, but he was released after two weeks in jail after the charge against him was dropped. Less than a week before Joarder's murder, two gay rights activists were hacked to death by Islamist extremists in the capital Dhaka for what the militants called promoting homosexuality. In February, a top Hindu priest was decapitated in the north of the country in an incident claimed by the "Islamic State" (IS) terrorist group. Hindus make up Bangladesh's largest religious minority, accounting for around 10 percent of the country's 160 million inhabitants. Authorities have managed to arrest some low-level militant operatives following the five hacking deaths so far this year, but police have made little headway in rooting out who is planning the attacks.

A Hindu man has been murdered on the street in Bangladesh. The death of the 50-year-old tailor is the most recent amid a spate of hacking attacks against minorities in the deeply conservative Muslim nation. Nikhail Chandra Joarder was killed by at least two assailants as he sat on the roadside, according to authorities in the central district of Tangail, ... Read More »

Italian aid worker shot dead in Bangladesh

An Italian citizen has been shot dead by unknown attackers in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. There have been growing security fears in Bangladesh following attacks on bloggers. The Italian man was gunned down in Dhaka's diplomatic zone on Monday, police said, and died later in hospital. "A 50-year-old man called Tavella Cesare was shot three times at Road Number 90 in the capital's Gulshan area in the afternoon today," Dhaka police spokesman Muntashirul Islam told Agence France-Presse. "He died after being brought to a Dhaka hospital." The man is understood to have worked for a Netherlands-based global development agency that has offices in Bangladesh. An online statement later claimed responsibility in the name of the "Islamic State" militant group, saying its attackers followed the man and shot him dead. The claim could not be independently verified and police said they were not aware of it. There have been heightened security fears in the country after the violent deaths of a number of atheist bloggers this year, which sparked a crackdown on local hard-line Islamist groups. The Australian cricket team delayed its departure to Bangladesh for an October tour after its government said there was a potential security risk from militants. The Bangladeshi government has been trying to counter Islamist groups who want to make the South Asian nation of 160 million a Sharia-based Islamic state.

An Italian citizen has been shot dead by unknown attackers in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. There have been growing security fears in Bangladesh following attacks on bloggers. The Italian man was gunned down in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone on Monday, police said, and died later in hospital. “A 50-year-old man called Tavella Cesare was shot three times at Road Number 90 ... Read More »

New mass graves discovered near Malaysian-Thai border

Mass graves with at least 24 human bodies have been unearthed along the Thai-Malaysian border in the northern Malaysian state of Perlis. The skeletons are likely to be of human trafficking victims, said Malaysian Police. Police found the corpses on Saturday in the Bukit Wang Burma area near Malaysia's border with Thailand. The heavily forested border area is frequently used by traffickers seeking to smuggle Bangladeshis and Rohingya Muslims - a persecuted minority in Myanmar - to Southeast Asia by boat. In May, Malaysian authorities discovered over a hundred bodies in mass graves near camps run by people smugglers in the country's north. The finding came after 26 bodies were exhumed from trafficking camps in neighboring Thailand. "Following on from the operation in which we found … bodies of illegal immigrants, 24 more bodies have been found and dug up," the police said in a statement on Saturday, adding that it had sent the remains to medical experts for examination. It is not immediately clear whether the bodies are those of Rohingya Mulims. "It is believed that heavy rain has eroded the graves," Shafie Isamil, police chief of the Malaysian state of Perlis, was quoted as saying by the state news agency, Bernama. The refugee crisis in Southeast Asia has flared over the past few months following a crackdown on human traffickers by Thai authorities. In May, several abandoned boats carrying more than 1,000 people washed to shore on the Malaysian island of Langkawi, near Thailand. In reaction to increasing international pressure, Malaysia and Indonesia promised they would no longer be pushing back migrant vessels seeking to reach their shores.

Mass graves with at least 24 human bodies have been unearthed along the Thai-Malaysian border in the northern Malaysian state of Perlis. The skeletons are likely to be of human trafficking victims, said Malaysian Police. Police found the corpses on Saturday in the Bukit Wang Burma area near Malaysia’s border with Thailand. The heavily forested border area is frequently used ... Read More »

Thai navy turns back boat carrying migrants

The Thai navy has pushed a boat with at least 300 migrants on board back out to sea - after giving them supplies. Authorities in Thailand have decided against a plan to set up official camps for the migrants. The boat, carrying about 300 people on board including young children, was reported to have left Thai waters early on Friday bound for Indonesia. Thai officials said they had fixed the boat's engine and given food, water and medicine to those on board, in accordance with Thailand's policy of "helping on" such vessels. "We gave them ready-to-eat meals," Satun provincial governor, Dejrat Limsiri, told the AFP news agency. "They are now out of Thailand territory ... they will try to go to Indonesia as it seems they cannot get to Malaysia." Noodles dropped in sea The boat had been found drifting in Thai waters on Thursday, with some 300 people on board - mainly from the persecuted Rohingya people of Myanmar. A Thai naval helicopter dropped food packages into the sea, with some men diving into the sea to retrieve them and eating raw noodles as they swam back to the vessel. Limsiri said the migrants did not want to enter Thailand, where they would face legal action and be returned to Myanmar. Some have been targeted by traffickers in Thailand and kept in camps where they are held to be ransomed back to their families. The stateless Rohingya are denied citizenship in their native Myanmar, where they face persecution from both the army and extremist Buddhist mobs who chase them from their homes and lands. Passengers told reporters who drew up in a boat alongside that 10 people had died and their bodies had been thrown overboard. A migrant also told reporters the aim was to reach Malaysia. Abandoned by traffickers More than 120,000 members of the intensely persecuted Rohingya minority have boarded ships to flee to other countries in the past three years. Amid a recent crackdown by authorities on traffickers, many have been abandoned at sea. Even if they reach Malaysia, the Rohingya are unlikely to receive a warm welcome with the country - and Indonesia - vowing they will not be allowed to enter. "What do you expect us to do?" asked Malaysian Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaidi Jafaar in comments reported by the AP news agency. "We have to send the right message," he said, "that they are not welcome here." Malaysian officials were on Thursday reported to have turned away two boats carrying more than 800 migrants.

The Thai navy has pushed a boat with at least 300 migrants on board back out to sea – after giving them supplies. Authorities in Thailand have decided against a plan to set up official camps for the migrants. The boat, carrying about 300 people on board including young children, was reported to have left Thai waters early on Friday ... Read More »

Bangladesh opposition clean sweeps key city elections

DHAKA: Bangladesh’s Islamist-backed main opposition on Sunday swept mayoral elections in four cities in a major setback for the ruling party ahead of general polls. The centre-right Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) won by big margins in the major cities of Khulna, Sylhet, Rajshahi and Barisal, Election Commission spokesman S.M. Asaduzzaman told AFP. In the third largest city of Khulna, home ... Read More »

Bangladesh: Tragedy Shows Urgency of Worker Protections

The collapse of an eight-story factory building near Dhaka shows the urgent need to improve Bangladesh’s protections for worker health and safety, Human Rights Watch said today. Reforms should include a drastic overhaul of the government’s system of labor inspections and an end to government efforts to thwart the right of workers to unionize. In the Savar area outside the Bangladeshi ... Read More »

Scroll To Top