People from all walks of life are facing reprisals in Bangladesh simply for exercising their right to freedom of expression online. Journalists, photojournalists, cartoonists, musicians, activists, entrepreneurs, teenage students and a farmer have been subjected to a wide range of human rights violations, including enforced disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture, and in one case even death in prison. 

In Bangladesh, the Digital Security Act (DSA), a vague and overly broad law that criminalises legitimate forms of expression, has been increasingly used to stifle dissent on social media, websites, and other digital platforms with punishments that go up to life imprisonment.

The authorities have targeted critical voices under the pretext of containing false, offensive, derogatory, or defamatory information, and it is being deployed as a tool for repression.

More than 1,300 cases have been filed against about 2,000 people under the DSA and nearly 1,000 people have been arrested since the law was enacted in October 2018. Bangladesh has 433 prisoners of the DSA as of 11 July 2021.

Writer, Mushtaq Ahmed, was the founder of the country’s first crocodile farm and a staunch human rights advocate with a loving and caring nature. He was arrested under the DSA for criticizing the Bangladeshi government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic on Facebook. Mushtaq died in prison in February this year, after languishing in pre-trial detention for more than ten months without a trial, solely for exercising his right to freedom of expression.

When thousands of people like you take action it puts pressure on the Bangladeshi government, letting them know that the world is watching - and that we will not rest until the right to freedom of expression is protected. 

Take action now and demand that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina put a stop to  Bangladesh’s crackdown on freedom of expression online.