Concerns about misinformation and deception are growing in Bangladesh, with stories of incorrect information fueling conflict and death. Although Bangladesh is not the only country affected, its ecology of misleading information has received little attention. Facebook and Twitter blocked a number of sites and accounts to prevent the spread of misleading information during the 2018 parliamentary elections. During this period, legacy news outlets also broadcast misleading political news. Bangladesh has strict media laws that include everything from defamation to promotion and fake news. The administration, on the other hand, has been accused of implementing internet restrictions to battle misleading information during elections. The Bangladesh Election Commission requested Facebook’s parent company to remove incorrect information in the run-up to the August 2023 (Muzykant et al, 2022).
II. Misinformation and Disinformation in Bangladesh
Examples of misinformation and disinformation campaigns in Bangladesh
Misinformation and disinformation activities in Bangladesh include the following:
- During the 2018 parliamentary elections, duplicate websites providing bogus political news impersonated certain heritage news companies (Chowdhury et al, 2020).
- Several sites and accounts on Facebook and Twitter have been suspended to prevent the spread of misleading information within the same time period.
- In Bangladesh, a number of fact-checking organizations discovered a lot of erroneous news, misunderstandings, and misinformation.
- The polling agency in Bangladesh requested Facebook’s parent to remove “disinformation” before the election.
- The developer of the “Making OR Faking” video documentary focuses on how this subject affects journalistic practices in Bangladesh’s main media.
- The administration has been charged with utilizing internet interruptions to battle misleading information during elections.
The impact of fake news on democracy in Bangladesh
Fake news has a serious detrimental impact on Bangladesh’s democracy because stories of inaccurate information fuel violence and upheaval. Misinformation in the form of false news or disinformation eventually undermines the ideals of democracy in a country since it actively sways public opinion. Bangladesh is not the only country with rumor and false information issues, but the ecology of misinformation in Bangladesh has gotten little attention. False news is having an influence on democracy, free expression, and human rights throughout the world. It is critical to develop fact-checking and media literacy in Bangladesh in order to combat disinformation and deceit. In Bangladesh, fact-checking agencies have discovered a wide range of erroneous information, misinformation, and disinformation. News literacy is a critical skill for the twenty-first century. As a result, fostering fact-checking and media literacy is critical in Bangladesh for combatting misinformation and disinformation (Muzykant et al, 2022).
The need for media literacy and fact-checking to combat misinformation
In order to combat disinformation and deceit in Bangladesh, media literacy and fact-checking are critical. Fake news and deceptive propaganda are widely disseminated in Bangladesh via numerous media channels. Fake news has had a significant detrimental impact on Bangladesh’s democracy, with instances of incorrect information inciting rage and murder. Misinformation in the form of false news or disinformation eventually undermines the ideals of democracy in a country since it actively sways public opinion. In order to combat misinformation and disinformation in Bangladesh, it is critical to develop fact-checking and media literacy (Haque et al, 2020). In Bangladesh, fact-checking agencies discovered a wide range of fake news, misinformation, and disinformation. News literacy is a critical skill for the twenty-first century. In developing nations with low literacy rates, such as Bangladesh, media literacy is critical for combatting incorrect information, rumors, fake news, and yellow journalism. Bangladesh can successfully combat disinformation and protect its citizens from the harmful effects of misleading information by employing fact-checking and media literacy (Staff Correspondent, 2022).
III. Negative Campaigns against Bangladesh
Overview of negative campaigns against Bangladesh in Western countries
There have been anti-Bangladesh efforts in Western countries, including charges of the spread of incorrect information and fake news through a range of media channels. Because fake news is so prevalent nowadays, it has an impact on democracy, free expression, and human rights all around the world. These programs have had an impact on Bangladesh’s reputation and growth (Shirina & Prodhan, 2020). The Bangladeshi elections commission requested Facebook’s parent company to erase “disinformation” in the run-up to the poll. Bangladesh has strict media restrictions in place to combat issues such as defamation, fake news, and propaganda. However, there have been suspicions that the authorities caused internet disruptions to fight misleading information during elections (Staff Correspondent, 2022).
The role of Al Jazeera network in spreading negative information about Bangladesh
It has been suggested that the Al Jazeera network transmitted incorrect information about Bangladesh. The network has come under fire for its reporting on Bangladesh, with some claiming that it is biased and portrays a negative image of the country (Haque, 2023). The network has been charged with propagating misleading information and fake news about Bangladesh, which has affected the country’s reputation and growth.
The impact of negative campaigns on Bangladesh’s image and development
Negative efforts have harmed Bangladesh’s reputation and development. The speakers warned that fake news endangers human rights and democracy, and that its widespread usage has an impact on freedom of expression, democracy, and human rights all across the world. The negative campaigns have also had an influence on Bangladesh’s economy, with some investors hesitant to invest there due to the country’s poor reputation in the media. To protect the public from the damaging effects of fake news, it is critical to combat misinformation and disinformation by encouraging fact-checking and media literacy (Haque et al, 2020).
IV. Progress and Success of the Current Government
Overview of the developments made by the present administration led by Sheikh Hasina
According to a survey done in August 2023, more than 70% of Bangladeshis think Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is doing a good job, and the majority of people are happy with the way the government is handling various issues. Under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, there have been substantial advancements in the nation’s infrastructure, healthcare, education, and security. The administration has also made steps to tackle corruption and improve governance (Hoogstra & Macdonald, 2023).
The government’s initiatives to improve the country’s infrastructure, education, healthcare, and security
The nation’s infrastructure, school system, healthcare system, and security have all improved as a consequence of government initiatives spearheaded by Sheikh Hasina. There are several examples of the significant expenditures made by the government in infrastructure development, including the building of new roads, bridges, and airports. In addition to building new schools and hospitals, the government has taken steps to improve healthcare and education. Along with strengthening law enforcement and implementing anti-terrorism measures, the government has made initiatives to improve security (Hoogstra & Macdonald, 2023).
The impact of the government’s policies on the country’s political, economic development, and security in the region
The government’s initiatives have all had a substantial influence on political, economic, and regional security. Bangladesh’s economy has grown at an astonishing rate over the last 10 years, and it has continued to develop rapidly even as the COVID-19 pandemic has raged. Government projects to improve infrastructure, education, healthcare, and security have aided the country’s economic development and growth. Because of the prime minister’s consolidation of power, the division of powers has become illusory, and there are no longer any checks and balances in existence in the legislative system as a result of the opposition’s overwhelming defeat in the 2018 election. If the country wants to build a foundation for inclusive growth, it must fight inequality, regardless of government progress (Haque, 2023).
V. Further Improvements
To further the nation’s political, economic, and security interests in the area, the government may undertake additional improvements in the following areas:
- Taking action to address inequity in order to offer an inclusive environment for growth.
- Ensuring the separation of powers and a system of checks and balances in the legislature.
- Promoting government accountability and transparency (Chowdhury et al, 2020).
- Combating corruption and promoting better government.
- Implement Religious minorities protection act to combat hate crime and hate speech.
- Investing in research and development to enhance technology and innovation.
- Promoting environmentally conscious growth and addressing environmental challenges (Bhowmick, 2023).
It is critical that the government take tough measures against those who spread disinformation and hate speech. The spread of incorrect information and misinformation has a severe impact on human rights, freedom of expression, and democracy all across the world. To combat the spread of misinformation, the government must take stern penalties against those who spread false information and hate speech (Shirina & Prodhan, 2020).
The promotion of correct information and fact-checking depends heavily on journalists and fact-checkers. In order to stop the spread of false information and misinformation, journalists and fact-checkers are crucial in ensuring that accurate information is distributed and that it has been verified. To fight misinformation and dishonesty, Bangladesh must priorities the development of media literacy and fact-checking. Bangladesh might successfully tackle the misinformation pandemic and protect the populace from the negative impacts of fake news by utilizing fact-checking and media literacy (Bhowmick, 2023).
Implementing the Religious Minority Protection Act in Bangladesh
Bangladesh urgently needs to preserve its religious minority. According to the US State Department’s 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom, religious minorities in Bangladesh face a variety of challenges, including underrepresentation in politics and government, harassment, communal threats, and social isolation. Human rights NGOs have seen religious minority’ liberation, whereas the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council (BHBCUC) has observed continued sectarian violence against minorities. While the government has been chastised for failing to protect the Hindu community, Bangladesh’s constitution guarantees equal treatment under the law, particularly for religious minorities. Enacting a Religious Minority Protection Act may be a significant step forward in preserving the rights and well-being of religious minorities in Bangladesh (Shirina & Prodhan, 2020).
Countering Misinformation Syndicates Abroad
It is apparent that syndicated entities working outside of Bangladesh, particularly in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and other European countries, are actively propagating false information in order to stymie the present administration’s progress and success. These NGOs regularly utilize deception to encourage Western politicians and governments to back Bangladesh. To combat this threat, the government must participate in proactive diplomacy and public relations operations that appropriately reflect the country’s progress and triumphs. Bangladesh should work closely with international partners to address this issue and present a balanced and well-informed perspective.
Leveraging the Cyber security Act
The significance of Bangladesh’s newly enacted cyber security law, which turned the disputed digital security act into a cyber-security law, cannot be overstated. The government should adopt the cyber security legislation to reduce the hazards caused by incorrect information both within and outside the country. The cyber security act is also a vital step towards tackling legitimate problems such as misinformation and disinformation. Aside from disinformation and fraud, the law might be used to fight other digital threats.
Addressing Misinformation-Induced Religious Persecution
Misinformation has sadly led to a number of incidences of religious persecution in Bangladesh. False Facebook posts and other misinformation have incited violence and resulted in the destruction of religious temples and places of worship. The government’s principal role is to protect religious minorities’ rights and safety. The Cyber Security Act, in conjunction with other legal measures, should be vigorously used to investigate and punish anybody found guilty of publishing false material that leads to religious persecution. Furthermore, efforts encouraging media literacy and fact-checking may educate the public about the dangers of incorrect information and how it may harm social cohesion (Hoogstra & Macdonald, 2023).
Misinformation by BNP Jamaat e Islam lobbyist firm in US
The Bangladeshi political party BNP hired eight lobbying firms in the United States to achieve its interests beginning in 2007, while it was in opposition. Blue Star and its subcontractor Rasky Partners acted as the primary lobbying firm for the party. The government is investigating whether lobbying fees were appropriately documented in financial audits done by lobbyists working for BNP-Jamaat in the United States. Despite advocating for the ultra-Islamist Bangladesh National Party (BNP) in the country, two former US diplomats and a limited number of other persons in the US recently failed to register as lobbyists, in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) requirements (PressXpress, 2023).
To defend Bangladesh’s democracy, it is essential to battle misinformation and lying. The dissemination of false information and misinformation via different media platforms has had an impact on democracy, free expression, and human rights on a worldwide scale. The government must implement strict punishments against individuals who disseminate false information and hate speech in order to counteract the plague of disinformation. Fact-checking and media literacy education must be promoted in Bangladesh in order to combat incorrect and misleading information. In order to stop the spread of false information and misinformation, journalists and fact-checkers play a crucial role in fact-checking and disseminating accurate information. By implementing fact-checking and media literacy, Bangladesh may successfully battle the false news epidemic and protect its residents from its damaging effects.
Bhowmick, S. (2023). Reimagining Bangladesh’s economic progress.
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Haque, N. (2023, April 26). The Urgency of Promoting Fact-Checking and Media Literacy in Bangladesh. https://www.cgs-bd.com/article/14287/The-Urgency-of-Promoting-Fact-Checking-and-Media-Literacy-in-Bangladesh
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PressXpress. (2023, August 15). Breaking the U.S. Law: Two BNP Lobbyists Face Legal Backlash. PressXpress. https://pressxpress.org/2023/08/15/breaking-the-us-law-two-bnp-lobbyists-face-legal-backlash/?fbclid=IwAR226Ni7FDYjskwjK6fBjUb2GeKWBP9dmUFBugVfc7jJA5H3nRChKJ56mtw_aem_AfpaS0u4hola_kaXBrQmZRX6dK58clNCsZqa9sL5k3Dv2Oatf3pF9oSnTrNwyK-3lpI&mibextid=Zxz2cZ
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