A Taboo Subject
03 May 20121 comments
In my opinion women have a critical role in the transition to democracy; the silencing of women demeans and undermines human rights and weakens democracy.
Women’s voices and freedom of expression must be ensured. Historically, women in Bangladesh such as Selina Perveen have given their lives for writing against the establishment and for an autonomous and independent Bangladesh.
In recent times we have women journalists such as Shahnaz Munni, Munni Shaha and Nadira Kiron who have broken the norm and reported on issues of governance, corruption and public services.
For the past year ARTICLE 19 has been working in Bangladesh on the issue of women’s participation in the media.
We have found evidence of significant levels of gender-based discrimination and censorship of women journalists. We have also found that that this reality is a “taboo” subject – rarely spoken of.
The media sector itself is a major challenge: within the media there is little willingness to acknowledge issues of discrimination and censorship that originate in the sector’s own culture and ways of working. We have also found that this is not an easy topic to uncover, identify or address but it is essential that we face up to it.
It erodes freedom of expression of women throughout the country, and detracts from freedom of expression of all.