By Hana Shams Ahmed
[An edited version of this article was published in the December 2012 issue of Forum magazine, The Daily Star]
While media blackouts have been a common phenomenon in post-independence Bangladesh, and they have been seen more frequently during military regimes, it would be an error to think democratic periods grant full media freedom. However, we see that media ownership and new technology have had a larger impact on the media landscape than censorship. Newer digital media platforms have increasingly played a part in overcoming censorship where the mainstream media has failed. Although economic limitations play a part here, bloggers have started to fill a void left by the mainstream media. This paper discusses how the state has used various means to suppress media freedom, leading to violations of the rights of journalists, of rights of the people to have a free media, of rights of minority communities to be represented in the media and also the use of religion by the state to suppress free cultural/political movements.