Censorship

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Censorship
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Bangladesh is a South Asian country which mostly practices Islam. It became independent from Pakistan in 1971.

General censorship[]

Press freedom in Bangladesh started to be restricted in 1974 after the start of one party BAKSAL (Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League) rule and felt further censorship under the subsequent military regimes. After the reinstatement of democracy in 1991, the press started to flourish again.

Bangladesh has been known to prevent the release of certain works not in the Bengali language. Much of what is imported there comes through neighboring India, and much of that is made or dubbed in Hindi; the government wanted to fend off the growing influence of the Hindi language in Bangladesh.


TV censorship[]

  • In 2002, the private news network ETV was banned by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party government.
  • Since 2010, Animax was banned for airing anime targeted at teens and adults and it is still banned. At the time there was no distinction in Bangladesh between animated content and all of it was assumed to be directed at children.
  • Many TV shows such as Doraemon, for instance, could not shown unless it was dubbed in Bengali.


Movie censorship[]

  • Remembrance of '71 - this documentary by Tanvir Mokammel about the Bangladesh Liberation war was banned by the Bangladesh Censor Board in 1991.
  • Nodir Naam Modhumoti - banned in 1994 for being "anti-nationalistic". The ban was later lifted after the Awami League returned to power.
  • Muktir Gaan - this film was objected by the censors in 1995, as they felt that the songs in the documentary were pro-Awami League, which then was the opposition party.
  • Teardrops of Karnaphuli - the Ministry of Home Affairs tried to ban this documentary about the effect of Kaptai Dam on the indigenous community in Chittagong Hill Tracts.
  • Nomuna - this satirical movie was banned as it made fun of political figures of Bangladesh.
  • Third Person Singular Number - the censor board forced the removal of a scene which showed street harassment.
  • Rhidoy Bhanga Dhew - this film was banned due to the villain wearing a Mujib Coat, a coat worn by Sheik Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh's first president and founding father.
  • Mor Thengari - This film, the first being in Chakma (an ethnic minority which practices Buddhism) language, had its release delayed by refusing to give certification to it. The Ministry of Information in a letter to the Censor board objected to some scenes of the film and requested their deletion. The director, Aung Rakhine, withdrew the film rather than cutting it.

Book censorship[]

  • Wild Wind - this was the third book written by women's rights activist Taslima Nasreen to be banned by the government of Bangladesh on the grounds of blasphemy. After she published the novel Lajja, Nasreen was forced to flee from her country. Her second book, My Girlhood, was also banned there for the same reason.
  • In 2010, any book written by Syed Abul Ala Maududi, founder of Jamaat-e-Islami party, was ordered to be banned from mosques and libraries, as the government deems that they promote extremism.
  • Dia Arefin and Diya Arefiner Nanir Bani - these books written by Diarshi Arag, a secular writer, after a court order from the Bangladesh High Court, were banned in 2020 for hurting religious sentiments.

Internet censorship[]

  • Any porn site the government could think of is banned in Bangladesh
  • The blog Sachalayatan was banned in 2008 by the military-backed caretaker government.
  • YouTube was blocked in 2009 by the Bangladesh Awami League (which was the then-ruling party) due to criticism of the government management of the 2009 Bangladesh Rifles mutiny, and then the site was banned in 2012 due to videos critical of Islam.
  • Facebook was blocked in 2010 due to images critical of Islam.
  • In 2013, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission asked ISPs to reduce the upload bandwidth due to piracy concerns but it was speculated that this was done to prevent uploading videos which criticized the government.
  • In 2015, several social media sites were blocked by the Government of Bangladesh for 22 days following protests the verdicts of International Crimes Tribunal. The government also monitors bloggers in the country. A leaked report showed that blogger killed in Bangladesh overlapped with those under surveillance of the state.
  • In 2016, 35 news websites were blocked by the government without any explanation.
  • In May 2017, a website of Swedish Radio was blocked after the latter published a report which contained a confessional statement over extrajudicial murders by an officer of Rapid Action Battalion.
  • In 2017, The Wire, an Indian newspaper, was blocked by the government following a report on Directorate General of Forces Intelligence abducting an academic
  • In 2018, The Daily Star's website was blocked for two days due to its in-depth investigation into the drug trade.
  • In 20 March 2019, aljazeera.com and The Joban, a Bengali language news website, were blocked for publishing a report that implicated Major General Tarique Ahmed Siddique, Defense Advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in the abduction of his business associates. Both websites were blocked by intelligence agencies circumventing Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and proper procedure.
  • In January 2020, Netra news, a Swedish-based news website, was blocked by the government after publishing a report accusing Obaidul Quader of corruption and used pictures of him wearing expensive watches including a 34 thousand dollar Rolex.

Video game censorship[]

Various games were blocked in the past. A lot of different internet sites also cannot offer services in Bangladesh.

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