August 1, 2017 / byRock Ronald Rozario, lacroix.com
The Arab crisis surrounding Qatar and the demands by the Saudi Arabia-led campaign to shut down its influential Al-Jazeera news agency shines a light on the growing threats to freedom of speech in the region.
David Kaye, the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, described the demand as a “blow to media pluralism” in a recent statement.
As media freedom continues to plummet in the wake of populist, authoritarian leaders in Europe and America, such as Donald Trump, Digital Content Next, an influential media alliance that includes the BBC, The Guardian, The New York Times and Washington Post, has unequivocally leaped to the defense of Al-Jazeera.
Meanwhile, in Bangladesh, a war is raging, both covertly and publicly, against free speech despite the constitution ensuring its people freedom of expression.
Attacks on media and freethinking
Increasingly arbitrary restrictions have been placed on media and written works in Bangladesh by each regime since it gained independence from Pakistan in 1971. The current austere regulations imposed by the ruling Awami League, the party that led the struggles for independence and has been in power since 2008, has surpassed those of its predecessors.
The government, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came to power after a controversial election on Jan. 5, 2014 boycotted…