Bangladesh Constitution confiscates freedom of the presses

The constitution of Bangladesh plays critically twisting role in relation to the rights of the press, freedom of thought and conscience. It primarily upholds the promised freedom and immediately after guaranteeing it, it itself forces the subjection.

The constitution of Bangladesh reads the clause on Freedom of thought and conscience, and of speech   

39.(1) reads – Freedom of thought and conscience is guaranteed.

(2) Subject to any reasonable restrictions imposed by law in the interests of the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, decency or morality, or in relation to contempt of court, defamation of incitement to an offence-

(a) the right of every citizen to freedom of speech and expression; and

(b) freedom of the press,

are guaranteed.


A simple look into the points of the constitutional authority vividly frames how the freedom are shackled. The very word ‘ subject to reasonable restrictions’ makes the sketch where the authority can intervene in the rights and freedom.

Since the authority can put the ‘reasonable’ restrictions, there is no guarantee to the freedom. History repeats the arbitrary powers always loom to establish supreme authority. If anything goes against the authority, that specific case could be labelled as ‘reasonable’ and could be restricted without much difficulty since the constitution itself guarantees the rights to ‘restrict’. The most serious case of the concern is that the approach of restriction is not mentioned in the constitution. So the authority gets the opportunity to define the ‘reasonable’ ways of ‘ restriction’. As the fourth pillar of the state press is pressed here and other three pillars, the executive branch, parliament and the judiciary can exercise their supreme authority without check and balance.

The fourth pillar of the state, the press, in the constitution of Bangladesh is not only ignored but also subjected to face the suppression of the constitutional pillar. 


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