Speakers for ensuring right to freedom of expression



Speakers at an event have stated that to develop an inclusive and tolerant society, it is very importation to ensure the right to freedom of expression, religion or belief; and the right of minorities.

The dignitaries of the society called for working together to secure these human rights along with the government and the civil society members.

The call came from a program entitled ‘Speak up for freedom of expression, freedom of religion/belief and minorities’ on the occasion of observing 71st anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

National Human Rights Commission Bangladesh and ARTICLE 19 that works for the right to freedom of expression in association with the Royal Embassy of Denmark in Bangladesh, jointly organised this programme today.

Nasima Begum ndc, the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), was the chief guest at the event while HE Winnie Estrup Petersen, the ambassador of Denmark, attended the program as a special guest.

During the Panel Discussion, Abed Khan, the chairman, Board of Directors of Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB), Dr Asif Nazrul, professor of Law at Dhaka University, Barrister Tania Amir, Heike Alefsen, senior human rights adviser of United Nations in Dhaka, and Dr Syeda Aireen Jaman, the chairperson of Forum for Freedom of Expression Bangladesh (FExB) spoke.

Current Affairs Editor of 71 Television Mithila Farzana moderated the Panel Discussion while professionalists, university faculties, researchers, journalists, online activists, human rights activists, and different NGO representatives were present.

NHRCB Chairman Nasima Begum, in her speech, said: “The present Commission is considering the Freedom of Expression with importance. NHRCB and ARTICLE 19 signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) recently. Besides the Commission already started working on restructuring a thematic group on freedom of expression; other human rights organisation along with ARTICLE 19 will be included in this initiative.”

She joined the programme through a video conference.

The Ambassador of Denmark in Bangladesh Winnie Estrup Petersen said: “Freedom of expression is a core pillar of society. The point behind freedom of expression is not just the exchange of ideas to increase our knowledge. The point behind freedom of expression is people. The point of freedom of speech is the political and personal empowerment of people – in the people’s exercise of their right to yes or no and influence others.”

She emphasised on the need to have room for criticism and dialogue because it ensures the checks and balances, and ultimately social cohesion in society.

Faruq Faisel, the regional director of ARTICLE 19 Bangladesh and South Asia, shared information regarding freedom of expression from the ARTICLE 19 Global Expression Report 2019.

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