Yay for Bangladesh! The world needs more censorship.
In a surgical strike by the forces of stupidity and fascism, Bangladesh has new laws governing what broadcasters can and cannot show. And no, none of them are to do with “Barney the Dinosaur” or “You’ve Been Framed“.
In fact, lets play the Censorship Game! You don’t know what the Censorship game is? Well, here’s how you play:
- Get a piece of paper.
- Guess what sorts of things a country, in this case Bangladesh, might want to censor.
- Note your guesses down, and go check the link here.
- For every guess you got right, you get a point.
If you guessed “stuff that makes the current government look bad”, “stuff that makes other political parties look good”, “stuff that allows people to organise themselves into unions” or “stuff from other countries”, then give yourselves 5 points each. These are pretty standard fare when a political party is trying to subjugate its people with a view to staying in power.
If you guessed “reports on the abuse of women”, give yourself 100 points – even I didn’t see that one coming. Clearly, Bangladesh is trying to be creative with its human rights abuses.
Here is the list in full:
 Private television channels cannot run direct publicity in favor of any political party [publicity in favor of ruling party is allowed],
 Misleading information cannot be incorporated in any talk shows [it stops the participants of the talk shows from delivering any comment criticizing the ruling party or its activities],
 National ideology or characters cannot be criticized,
 The father of the nation [Sheikh Mujibur Rahman] cannot be criticized in any of the programs [any of his mistakes during his governance cannot be anymore mentioned in any of the programs],
 No individual can be criticized in the programs [this has been initiated as a number of ministers in the ruling government became subject of harsh criticism following their severe failures],
 No criticism will be allowed on national ideologies and goals [this law will stop the television channels from scrutinizing and criticizing any of the decisions or policies adopted by the ruling party],
 No defense and government information can be leaked in any of the programs on television channels [this was initiated because a number of private television channels are exposing many of the hidden actions as well as corruptions inside ministries],
 No program can be aired which would provoke deterioration of law and order situation [this law will stop broadcasting news and contents related to general strikes and demonstration programs of the political opponents of the ruling party. This law has been incorporated to stop the television channels from exposing corruption as well as brutality of the law enforcing agencies in the country. Especially the ruling party turned uncomfortable when the private television channels exposed the physical assault of an opposition member of the Parliament, who was mercilessly beaten by some police officers. It was disclosed by the private television channels that, those police officers were leaders of the student front of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League, during their student life. Television programs containing investigative reports on murder in custody of opposition leader and lawyer Moinuddin Ahmed [M U Ahmed] also caused anger in the minds of the ruling party leaders],
 No program can be broadcast against any friendly nation [this will stop Bangladeshi channels to broadcast programs criticizing Palestine, Iran and many other nations, with which Bangladesh maintains ‘friendly’ relations,
 Programs related to trafficking in women, forced prostitution, rape etc will be barred from broadcast under the new law. This law will also stop broadcasting investigative reports on such issues.
 Broadcasting ‘kiss scene’ shall be banned under the new law [this will stop all foreign television channels, especially the movie channels from being connected to Bangladeshi cable television network],
 No program or content on mutiny or demonstration can be broadcast on television channels [this will stop the private television channels from showing any of the contents related to massacre inside the Bangladesh Riffles Headquarters],
 Programs exposing the activities of criminals as well as their modus-operandi cannot be shown on any television channel,
 The private television channels shall be ‘bound’ to broadcast speeches of the Head of the State, Head of the government [Prime Minister], public announcements, press notes as well as any ‘program of national interest’. This law will compel the television channels in continuing to broadcast programs containing political agendas of the ruling party.
… Wow. That’s pretty shocking.
You know what this reminds me of? Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s Prime Minister, who has a similar hold on the media of the country he’s in charge of. Except at least he’s easy to lampoon…
(Thanks for the heads up, PZ!)