Target: Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina
Goal: Call for the release of journalists detained in violation of the freedom of speech
Recently, four bloggers and a newspaper editor were arrested in Bangladesh for statements in opposition of the government. The government publicly states that it will continue to seek out and arrest specific bloggers whose work is deemed objectionable by the government. Clearly, arresting individuals for asserted opinions is a violation of the freedom of speech.
Even though the Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has formerly declared Bangladesh a secular state, many of these targeted individuals are sought out due to their atheistic assertions. So, apart from the violation of the freedom of speech, it would appear as though the government is encroaching upon freedom of religion as well. And we must remember, freedom of religion also entails freedom from religion.
As described by Brad Adams of Human Rights Watch, “By targeting peaceful critics in the media and blogosphere and promising more arrests, the government is abandoning any serious claim that it is committed to free speech. Bangladeshis should have the right to peacefully express their views, and the state should address these demands through the rule of law instead of embarking on politically motivated arrests.”
These individuals should be allowed to express their criticisms in clear site without persecution. However, the government does not share this sentiment as the Home and Law Ministers have both stated their intent to continue this hunt for oppositional activists. The silencing of these individuals is all part of a larger goal of the full governmental control of the internet and all forms of media. In fact, the ministers have already presented the names of seven other atheist bloggers that it plans to arrest. All of these motions are converging upon the paradigm of a totalitarian state.
Sign below to call for the release of the currently detained journalists and the curtailment of this torrent of rights-violating arrests.
Dear Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,
The targeting of atheistic journalists is a violation of the right to freedom of speech. The individuals currently detained on the basis of “objectionable” speech should be immediately released from prison. You have previously stated that your government is secular in nature, rather than asserting this to appease international inquirers, you should truly attempt to operate as one. This would entail not imprisoning people for speaking their mind, even if their thoughts are deemed as unacceptable to you. It is childish to arrest individuals just because they do not agree with you. Please end this tirade against targeted secular journalists and release those currently imprisoned individuals that reaped the consequences of the aforementioned rights-violating crusade.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Gurumia