Bangladesh 🇧🇩 is a South Asian country which mostly practices Islam. It became independent from Pakistan in 1971. Its government and politics are very similar to that of Pakistan and the United Kingdom, but unlike Pakistan, Bangladesh is not a federation.

General censorship[]

Press freedom in Bangladesh started to be restricted in 1974 after the start of one party BAKSAL (Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League) rule and felt further censorship under the subsequent military regimes. After the reinstatement of democracy in 1991, the press started to flourish again.

Bangladesh has been known to prevent the release of certain works not in the Bengali language. Much of what is imported there comes through neighbouring India, and much of that is made or dubbed in Hindi; the government wanted to fend off the growing influence of Hindustani in the Bengali language used in Bangladesh.

Before independence, when Bangladesh was under Pakistan with the name "East Bengal", Bengali language was forbidden.

Book censorship[]

  • Rangila Rasul - this religious book written by Pandit M. A. Chamupati about the sexual life and marriages of the prophet Muhammad is currently banned in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • The Satanic Verses - this novel by Salman Rushdie was banned in Bangladesh for blasphemy against Islam. Rushdie himself received a fatwa for his alleged blasphemy.
  • Naree - this criticism book by Humayun Azad was banned in Bangladesh in 1995, though the ban was later lifted in 2000.
  • Many books written by women's right activist Taslima Nasreen were banned in Bangladesh.
    • Lajja - this novel was banned in Bangladesh, and a few states of India. After she published this novel, Nasreen was forced to flee from her country.
    • Amar Meyebela (My Girlhood) - this novel, which is the first volume of Nasreen's memoir, was banned by the Bangladeshi government in 1999 for "reckless comments" against Islam and the prophet Mohammad.
    • Utal Hawa (Wild Wind) - this novel, which is the second volume of her memoir, was the third novel written by Nasreen to be banned by the government of Bangladesh on the grounds of blasphemy.
    • Ka (Speak up) - this book, which is the third part of her memoir, was banned by the Bangladeshi High Court in 2003. Under pressure from Indian Muslim activists, the book, which was published in West Bengal as Dwikhandita, was banned there also; some 3,000 copies were seized immediately. The decision to ban the book was criticised by "a host of authors" in West Bengal, but the ban was not lifted until 2005.
    • Sei Sob Ondhokar (Those Dark Days) - this book, the fourth part of Nasreen's memoir, was banned by the Bangladesh government in 2004.
  • In 2010, any book written by Syed Abul Ala Maududi, founder of Jamaat-e-Islami party, was ordered to be banned from mosques and libraries, as the government deems that they promote extremism.
  • Dia Arefin and Diya Arefiner Nanir Bani - these books written by Diarshi Arag, a secular writer, after a court order from the Bangladesh High Court, were banned in 2020 for hurting religious sentiments.

Internet censorship[]

  • Any porn site the government could think of is banned in Bangladesh.
  • The blog Sachalayatan was banned in 2008 by the military-backed caretaker government.
  • YouTube was blocked in 2009 by the Bangladesh Awami League (which was the then-ruling party) due to criticism of the government management of the 2009 Bangladesh Rifles mutiny, and then the site was banned in 2012 due to videos critical of Islam.
  • Facebook was blocked in 2010 due to images critical of Islam.
  • In 2013, the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission asked ISPs to reduce the upload bandwidth due to piracy concerns but it was speculated that this was done to prevent uploading videos which criticised the government.
  • In 2015, several social media sites were blocked by the Government of Bangladesh for 22 days following protests the verdicts of International Crimes Tribunal. The government also monitors bloggers in the country. A leaked report showed that blogger killed in Bangladesh overlapped with those under surveillance of the state.
  • In 2016, 35 news websites were blocked by the government without any explanation.
  • In May 2017, a website of Swedish Radio was blocked after the latter published a report which contained a confessional statement over extrajudicial murders by an officer of Rapid Action Battalion.
  • In 2017, The Wire, an Indian newspaper, was blocked by the government following a report on Directorate General of Forces Intelligence abducting an academic
  • In 2018, The Daily Star's website was blocked for two days due to its in-depth investigation into the drug trade.
  • In 20 March 2019, aljazeera.com and The Joban, a Bengali language news website, were blocked for publishing a report that implicated Major General Tarique Ahmed Siddique, Defense Advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in the abduction of his business associates. Both websites were blocked by intelligence agencies circumventing Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and proper procedure.
  • In January 2020, Netra news, a Swedish-based news website, was blocked by the government after publishing a report accusing Obaidul Quader of corruption and used pictures of him wearing expensive watches including a 34 thousand dollar Rolex.

Movie censorship[]

  • Remembrance of '71 - this documentary by Tanvir Mokammel about the Bangladesh Liberation war was banned by the Bangladesh Censor Board in 1991.
  • Nodir Naam Modhumoti - banned in 1994 for being "anti-nationalistic". The ban was later lifted after the Awami League returned to power.
  • Muktir Gaan - this film was objected by the censors in 1995, as they felt that the songs in the documentary were pro-Awami League, which then was the opposition party.
  • Teardrops of Karnaphuli - the Ministry of Home Affairs tried to ban this documentary about the effect of Kaptai Dam on the indigenous community in Chittagong Hill Tracts.
  • Nomuna - this satirical movie was banned as it made fun of political figures of Bangladesh.
  • Third Person Singular Number - the censor board forced the removal of a scene which showed street harassment.
  • Hridoy Bhanga Dheu - this film was banned due to the villain wearing a Mujib Coat, a coat worn by Sheik Mujibur Rahman, Bangladesh's first president and founding father.
  • Mor Thengari - This film, the first being in Chakma (an ethnic minority which practices Buddhism) language, had its release delayed by refusing to give certification to it. The Ministry of Information in a letter to the Censor board objected to some scenes of the film and requested their deletion. The director, Aung Rakhine, withdrew the film rather than cutting it.
  • Rana Plaza - This film based on the 2013 Dhaka garment factory collapse, where thousands of workers died, was banned due to a petition from due to a petition from the Bangladesh National Garment Workers League chief Sirajul Islam, alleging that it contained "frightening scenes" as well the names of security forces, which is considered violation of the law.
  • Strange World - This film was not submitted by Disney to local authorities and its theatrical release was skipped in the country, tantamounting to a ban, due to the subplot regarding Ethan and Daizo's homosexual relationship in the film.
  • Faraaz - this film, which was based on the 2016 Dhaka attack, where 29 people were killed, including 20 hostages (17 foreigners and 3 locals), 2 police officers, 5 gunmen and 2 bakery staff. Ruba Ahmed, the mother of Abinta Kabir, who was killed by militants in the Holey Artisan Bakery attack on 1 July 2016, filed the writ on 12 February 2023, After hearing that writ, the High Courth bench of justices Md. Khasruzzaman and Md. Iqbal Kabir delivered the order to ban the film.

Television censorship[]

  • In 2002, the private news network ETV was banned by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party government.
  • Since 2010, Animax was banned for airing anime targeted at teens and adults and it is still banned. At the time there was no distinction in Bangladesh between animated content and all of it was assumed to be directed at children.
  • Many TV shows such as Doraemon, for instance, could not shown unless it was dubbed in Bengali.

Video game censorship[]

Various games were blocked in the past. A lot of different Internet sites also cannot offer services in Bangladesh.

External links[]