Freedom of speech must not be undermined with false propaganda: PM


Dhaka, Nov 02: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday asked all concerned to highlight the facts of any incident alongside protesting the spread of rumours and false propaganda in the name of freedom of speech.

“Spreading false propaganda is not freedom of speech…there should be immediate protests against any false propaganda….people must know the  facts. Sitting silent will not help,” she said.

The Prime Minister said this while speaking in the beginning of the regular weekly meeting of the cabinet at Bangladesh Secretariat. The Prime Minister chaired the meeting joining it from her official residence Ganobhaban through videoconferencing.

“There might be some pain in telling the truth of any incident, but ultimately it’ll surely work and that’s the reality,” Hasina said, adding that a vested quarter is accustomed to making ill-efforts to cause harm to people and the government of Bangladesh.

Calling upon all to remain aware about that quarter, she said concerned all need to highlight truth and facts. “A section of people is trying to spread rumours to undermine the government’s image, but they can never succeed in fulfilling their ill motives.”

She went on saying, “The area where there’s a scope to create anarchy is freedom of speech? Nabbing those delivering speech for creating conflicts is snatching the freedom of speech? This is not correct.”

She said it cannot be accepted in this era of digital media that one would write and publish whatever he or she wants in the name of freedom of speech.

“In social media, anyone can say whatever he/she likes…one can spread false propaganda, when the government takes any step against those then the vested quarters makes hue and cry and spreads various arguments across the globe ,” she said.

Hasina said people usually do not look into the matter why the step has been taken!

On the other hand, she mentioned, it was also essential for the authorities concerned to provide facts and information with necessary explanations.

In this regard, the Prime Minister said the mentality of taking a defensive stance without giving appropriate information is not a good practice at all.

Hasina also pointed out an incident of rumor during the movement of the students against quota, saying common students agitated following a rumor that a girl was being tortured at Awami League’s Dhanmondi Office.

She said incidents like attacking the party office with heavy stones and lethal weapons also happened on that day due to the spread of disinformation by a group of conspirators.

“And such incidents took place when Bangladesh reached a better position in terms of economic indices proving negative predictions of various international organisations as false,” the Prime Minister said.

She, however, said those who do not like the development of the country and want Bangladesh to remain dependent on others are committing these misdemeanours.

“A section of people are always there who never think for the betterment of people, they’re always busy with their different issues – personal interests. When they fail to do anything as per their planned conspiracy, then they become so critical.”

Hasina asserted that Bangladesh emerged as an independent country and it would go ahead before the world community with its self-dignity and keeping its heads high.

She mentioned that there are vested groups both at home and abroad who do not like the progress of the country and who never wanted the independence of the country as they feel so much pain when they see the advancement of Bangladesh. “They (vested quarters) wanted to keep Bangladesh as a nation of beggars and dependent on them.”

But, she said, Bangladesh will continue its march forward in the days to come, she added.