International groups move UN to protect freedom of expression in Bangladesh

A number of international groups working on press freedom and freedom of expression today urged urgent and concrete steps by the United Nations (UN) to reverse the deteriorating climate for free expression in Bangladesh.

The groups including the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) made a joint submission to the UN Human Rights Council, which is going to convene in Geneva for its next session today.

The groups are: PEN International, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Center for Inquiry, Committee to Protect Journalists, Dansk PEN, English PEN, European Humanist Federation, Finnish PEN, Freemuse, Icelandic PEN, Index on Censorship, International Humanist and Ethical Union, International Publishers Association, Norsk PEN, PEN America, PEN Bangladesh, PEN Melbourne, Reporters without Borders, PEN Sweden.

“A string of murders of bloggers and publishers since February 2015, for which no one has been convicted, has produced an atmosphere of fear,” said a statement of Sumit Galhotra, senior research associate of CPJ Asia Program.

The groups said the mainstream press in Bangladesh continues to face an array of challenges, ranging from the imprisonment of journalists to legal threats.

The submission, made under Item 4 of the council’s agenda, according to which the council can look into human rights abuses in specific countries, is available here.