Editorial

Freedom of thought and conscience?

Md. Ashraful Hoque Bhuiya

39 (1) clause of the Constitution states that every citizen shall be guaranteed freedom of expression and press. We often notice that if anyone expresses an opposing opinion, the government does not call it a conspiracy against the government, but they are tortured because it is a conspiracy against the nation. The government will come and go but the government will remain in its place. It cannot be called as anti-national only if the government’s mistakes are pointed out. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure the right of every citizen to freedom of speech and expression. Any restriction on freedom of speech and expression must be set out in laws that must be clear and concise so that everyone can understand them. It cannot be, given a broad term and under it everyone is caught and thrown in jail, which we see when we look at the countries of the third world. In third world countries, any criticism of the government is suppressed in the name of national security and public order. As a result, the uncritical ruler becomes a monster. The critic was immediately thrown into jail. This is never desirable in a civilized country.
Laws cannot be based on individual traditions or religions. A few days ago, we saw in the paper that even if the government officials are involved in corruption, they have to take permission before arresting them and in case of collecting information, we have to collect information from them with their permission. This is not only an interference with freedom of expression but also a gross violation of human rights. Suppressing or silencing someone who criticizes, disagrees and points out errors about religion, ideas and beliefs is the ultimate form of violation of freedom of speech. If you notice, it can be seen that more than 95% of these are Muslim countries and they are the backward countries in civilization, economy, knowledge, science, intelligence and thinking. They cannot tolerate dissent. India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Turkey, Egypt, Myanmar, Kenya, Tanzania, Poland, Sudan, South Sudan, Algeria, Morocco and Western Sahara, Yemen, Kuwait, Iraq, Cameroon, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Malaya, Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe , Zambia, Tunisia, El Salvador, Singapore, Jordan, Eritrea, Emirate of Dubai, Palestine, Oman, Botswana, Gambia, Mauritius, Trinidad and Tobacco, North or Turkish Cyprus,
Comoros, Qatar, Guinea Bissau, Bahrain, Suriname, Lebanon, Maldives, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Antigua and Bermuda, Andorra, San Marino. The images can be seen just by looking at these countries. In all developed and civilized countries of the rest of the world this backward law does not exist or they do not bother about it.
Freedom of Journalists and Press: Journalists face special risks because of their work. It is the responsibility of the nation to protect their right to freedom of speech. Ban on newspapers, TV stations etc. can affect everyone’s freedom of expression. Governments should never prosecute anyone who discloses information about human rights violations. Freedom of expression is a basic human right. The guarantee of this right is at the root of the development of all developed nations. That is why every progressive independent nation values freedom of thought and expression more than life and does not hesitate to make any sacrifices to preserve it. On the other hand, it is also noticeable that if they want to keep a nation in demand, their rulers want to paralyze the thinking power of that nation first. For this purpose, the rulers do not hesitate to spread their nets to take away the freedom of thought and expression of the nation, there is no official medium that they do not hesitate to become active. As the history of the past years has shown, the government has been pursuing as a major policy since independence till date especially the suppression of the voice of the people of this province. The arbitrary precedent set by the infamous Press and Publications Ordinance to suppress the publication of newspapers can only be compared to British rule. Publicly funded radio and television, on the other hand, has been completely exploited by the government as its own propaganda machine. There is no opportunity for everyone to express their opinion freely on radio and television, and even words cannot be used freely in these media.
In January 1969, eleven point demands were announced by the ‘Sangramee Chhatra Samaj’. In the second clause, the freedom of speech, freedom of the individual and the freedom of the press are mentioned: “Parliamentary democracy shall be established by direct election by the vote of adults.” Freedom of speech, freedom of the individual and freedom of the press must be given. The ban on Daily Ittefaq should be withdrawn. After many years of creative non-violent struggle, non-cooperation movement, civil disobedience movement, armed struggle after the night of 25th March, loss of life of 30 million people in genocide – after so many sacrifices, the constitution that we made in 72 years, there freedom of speech, freedom of expression, individual -The words freedom were included.
“No person shall be deprived of life and personal liberty except in accordance with the law.” There are many precedents in our country of depriving citizens of life and personal liberty through the colonial legal framework.
Again, in Article 39 entitled ‘Freedom of Thought and Conscience and Freedom of Speech’, although ‘freedom of thought and conscience is guaranteed’, freedom of speech and freedom of the press has been made conditional. Freedom of expression and of the press is guaranteed ‘subject to reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interests of national security, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency and morality, or contempt of court, libel or incitement to crime’. The terms ‘national security’, ‘friendly relations with foreign states’, ‘public order’, ‘decency’, ‘morality’, ‘insult’ and ‘defamation’ are so relative and dependent on state definitions that if one speaks or writes about them Then what remains cannot be called ‘freedom of speech’ at all.
In other words, it appears that the demands which were most evident in the long struggle of the Pakistan period, after 1971 in the state structure, were instead captured in the fence of various conditions. Birds fly in the cage. On the contrary, these liberties have fallen into the most terrible condition in the present time. The freedom of speech and expression of the citizens of Bangladesh has literally been put in jail through the Digital Security Act. Writers, cartoonists, journalists, activists, political workers are serving jail time.
We are still talking about freedom. Still our slogans, wall-writings tell us, our freedom is endangered by multifaceted legal traps. Our freedom is in jeopardy. Our long fight for freedom of speech is still going on. When will we get rid of this?

 

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