Bangladesh Political Orientation
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 37.66 – Limited Freedom
World Press Freedom Rank: Bangladesh 161/180
In 2023, Reporters Without Borders ranked Bangladesh 161/180 in their Press Freedom Index, stating there is a “disturbing increase in press freedom violations.” According to Germany-based DW (Deutsche Welle) and Human Rights groups journalists, reporting about COVID 19 related news is punished and “attacked.” Further, DW states, “PM Sheikh Hasina’s government is trying to conceal information about COVID-19.” Finally, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) sent an open letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina titled “Open letter to Bangladeshi premier on Covid-19 press freedom violations.”
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
The Media in Bangladesh consists of government-owned media and privately-owned media. TV is a widely preferred source of information, and Bangladesh has three state-owned and 45 private satellite TV channels. In October 2018, the Digital Security Act was passed in Parliament. This act gives police officers new powers, such as the right to detain people without a warrant, resulting in the government using this act to silence critical voices. The Diplomat reports that “Since the Digital Security Act was passed, 1,000 cases have been filed under the law.”
Media Landscape reports that the Bangladeshi Government “follows a discriminatory policy in distributing its advertisement which accounts for about 10% of the total advertisements, as per several estimations.” It is further reported that “newspapers critical of the government are routinely deprived of the government advertisements.” This leads to significant pro-Government bias to be funded through advertising revenue. Finally, in November 2023, the police arrested 8,000 opposition activists further limiting expression.
In summary, the Government of Bangladesh has a powerful influence on media through censorship and violence against journalists and those with critical voices.
Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check
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