Propaganda, and the suppression of dissent

rahnuma ahmed

I have not acquired any fortune but I have my paternal estate and the pension of a Subedar. This is enough for me. The people in my village seem to respect me, and are now fully satisfied with the ease and benefits they enjoy under British rule.

Thus wrote Sita Ram in From Sepoy to Subedar, first published in 1873, sixteen years after the first war of independence (the British still refer to it as the Indian Rebellion, or the Indian Mutiny).

Sita Ram wrote the manuscript at the bidding of his commanding officer Lieutenant-Colonel Norgate in 1861, his son passed it on to the Englishman; the manuscript is supposed to have been written in Awadhi, Norgate translated it into English. An Urdu translation is also heard to have surfaced the same year. Few copies are known to have been sold, until 1911 that is, when a Colonel Phillott created a new syllabus for Hindustani exams, taken by colonial officers to test their knowledge of the language. Phillott himself translated the book into Urdu, and from then onwards, the autobiography of Sita Ram, who worked in the Bengal Native Army of the East India Company for forty-eight years (1812 to 1860)—became a ‘key text’ for British officers. The book was still part of the curriculum in the 1940s, it was translated into Devanagari in the same decade; a new and illustrated edition of the book (Norgate’s English translation), was brought out by James Lunt, as late as 1970. Continue reading “Propaganda, and the suppression of dissent”

Protecting Freedom of Expression in Bangladesh

Following is the English translation of the statement made by academics, writers, women’s rights, human rights and cultural activists, including freedom fighters, on December 18, 2014 regarding the conviction and sentencing of British journalist David Bergman by the International Crimes Tribunal-2, in Dhaka. The statement was published in Prothom Alo, the largest Bangla daily, the next day. One of the statement makers, Khushi Kabir, withdrew her name from the statement the following day.

 

On January 14, 2015, the Tribunal served notice on the 49 statement makers asking them to explain their statement: “Prima facie it appears that the core content of the ‘statement’ questions ‘transparency and openness’ of the judicial proceedings before the tribunal and also justification of the order sentencing a journalist [Bergman] for the act of scandalising the tribunal constituting the offence of contempt.”

 

Over the next two months, 26 statement makers tendered in writing their “unconditional apology” before the Tribunal. These were accepted as they “upgraded the majesty of the Tribunal” (Order No 11, dated 18.03.2015), and the 26 were exonerated from further proceedings.

 

The remaining 23, who had expressed their “regret” for any inadvertent impression the Tribunal may have received about it’s “authority and institutional dignity” having been belittled, have failed to satisfy the Tribunal as their explanation lacks “true remorse and repentance.” And, in the eyes of the Tribunal, they have, on the contrary, sought to “defend” their statement by citing the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of Bangladesh.

The Tribunal has now decided (Order No. 12, dated 1.04.2015) to initiate contempt proceedings against Masud Khan (consultant), Afsan Chowdhury (liberation war researcher, university teacher), Ziaur Rahman (lawyer), Hana Shams Ahmed (writer, rights activist), professor Anu Muhammad (university teacher), Anusheh Anadil (singer, rights activist), Muktasree Chakma Sathi (rights activist), Lubna Marium (cultural activist, freedom fighter), Farida Akhter (women’s rights activist), Shireen Huq (women’s rights activist), Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury (public health activist, freedom fighter), Ali Ahmed Ziauddin (freedom fighter), Rahnuma Ahmed (writer), Dr. Shahidul Alam (photographer), Dr. C. R. Abrar (university teacher), Dr. Bina D’ Costa (peace and conflict analyst), Mahmud Rahman (writer), Dr. Zarina Nahar Kabir (university teacher), Leesa Gazi (cultural activist), Shabnam Nadiya (writer), Nasrin Siraj Annie (anthropologist and film-maker, Tibra Ali (physicist), and Dr. Delwar Hussain (anthropologist).

If found guilty they face a fine or imprisonment of up to 1 year.

Continue reading “Protecting Freedom of Expression in Bangladesh”

Time Warner Cable Drops Current TV Upon Sale To Al Jazeera

Time Warner Al Jazeera

The newsroom at Al Jazeera headquarters in Doha, Qatar, on Nov. 14, 2006. (Photo credit: Karim Jaafar/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK ?- Time Warner Cable pulled the plug on Current TV just hours after news of the cable channel’s sale to Al Jazeera became official.
“This channel is no longer available on Time Warner Cable,” read an on-screen message where Current TV used to be found. Continue reading “Time Warner Cable Drops Current TV Upon Sale To Al Jazeera”

Finally I feel safe

Sri Lankan Editor Frederica Jansz Flees Sri Lanka

November 4, 2012 | Filed under: Colombo Telegraph,Featured News,News,STORIES |

When luddites go digital

Article that looks at the rise of digital Bangladesh culminating in the current blockage of www.youtube.com in Bangladesh.

Remember those days? It was 1993. Getting a new telephone line took several years and large bribes. Getting an international line was another matter and calling overseas required making a ?Trunk Call? through an operator and a wait of several hours. Phone calls were expensive. A one-minute fax or call to the US cost well over 100 Taka. The exchange rate was very different, and a 116 Taka one page fax would have set you back three US dollars! We needed government permission to import a fax machine and the clunky early generation mobile phones cost over one lakh each (US $ 2,500). It was less than twenty years ago. Now, Mobin, the guy in our mudir dokan (corner shop) downloads videos from my blog (where he is featured) on his mobile phone. We get news on TV sandwiched between gyrating boys and girls advertising FnF connections.  My attempts to curb Facebook use at work has failed miserably. We finally have 3G, at least partially.
How did this digital revolution come about? We had decided to set up our picture agency Drik, not in the established photographic marketplaces of London, Paris or New York, but in Dhaka, where our photographers were based. But while we were close to our photographers our distance from the market, in terms of miles and means was enormous. What we also wanted to do was to set up a South-South exchange, so we could build on our collective strengths. A Dutch organisation called TOOL was interested in publishing my book, and I decided to meet up with them while in Amsterdam for the judging of World Press Photo. Researching on them I discovered they also offered off-line email, using Fidonet technology. More importantly, they too were keen on setting up a South-South exchange. Continue reading “When luddites go digital”

Sanjana Hattotuwa talks to Frederica Jansz

On this program Sanjana Hattotuwa talks to Frederica Jansz, Former Editor-In-Chief, The Sunday Leader


An excellent interview that maps out the options faced by independent media in our region. Earlier this year Sanjana Hattotuwa had introduced the bookMy journey as a witness” at the Barefoot Gallery in Colombo.

Shell Blocks Employee Access to Activist Website

?71,010 employees blocked from tweeting Oprah about Supreme Court murder case?

Houston, TX (October 2, 2012) ? Early Monday morning, 71,010 Shell employees received an email from the company’s “Grassroots Employee Empowerment Division” providing information on Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, a pivotal human rights case being argued in the U.S. Supreme Court. The email contained links to news stories, as well as a tool to help employees tweet their feelings about the case at key US news anchors (and Oprah Winfrey).
The only thing is, Shell has no “Grassroots Employee Empowerment Division,” and they don’t want publicity for the case. The email was in fact the work of an activist group called People Against Legalizing Murder (PALM), who received the list of Shell emails from what they believe to be a group of disaffected employees. (A similar leak occurred two years ago.)
Within minutes of the email being sent out, Shell internally blocked the site, preventing employees from accessing it. “I would love to participate, but access is denied to all links you sent out,” wrote one employee among many. The 71,010 employees were informed this morning of the situation and the site’s new URL.
PALM intended the action to help shine a spotlight on the case, brought by the widow of Dr. Barinem Kiobel, who was hanged along with novelist Ken Saro-Wiwa for opposition to Shell’s drilling plans in West Africa. Shell is alleged to have aided paramilitary forces that raided more than 60 villages, killed over 800 people, and displaced 30,000 more.
To prevail, Shell lawyers must overturn a 200-year-old law, the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), that compensates victims of international crimes. (The law has been used to compensate Holocaust survivors who sued for restitution from corporations that profited from slavery and forced labor during World War II.) Shell’s lawyers are arguing that their corporation is not subject to the ATS because it is not a person.
“When it comes to things like election spending, Shell and other corporations want to have all the rights of people,” said Sean Dagohoy from PALM. “But when accused of murder, Shell conveniently argues that they aren’t a person. A ruling in their favor would be a very dangerous precedent, and would badly undermine the United States’ reputation as a place that cares about human rights. That’s why we attempted to reach out to Shell employees to help get the word out.”
“Surely most Shell employees, like most people, don’t want multinationals to get away with murder just because murder’s convenient,” said Andy Bichlbaum of the Yes Lab, which provided technical assistance for the action.
“Shell needs to let its employees speak,” said Mike Bonanno of the Yes Lab. “They can prevent it for a day, but in the long run they have no choice.”
Contact
Sean Dagohoy
People Against Legalizing Murder (PALM)
Andy Bichlbaum or Mike Bonanno
The Yes Lab

Conservatives, Democrats and the convenience of denouncing free speech

Westerners love to decry censorship aimed at them by Muslims while ignoring the extreme censorship they impose on them

?guardian.co.uk,

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the State Department in Washington Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, on the recent deaths of Americans in Libya. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Nothing tests one’s intellectual honesty and ability to apply principles consistently more than free speech controversies. It is exceedingly easy to invoke free speech values in defense of political views you like. It is exceedingly difficult to invoke them in defense of views you loathe. But the true test for determining the authenticity of one’s belief in free speech is whether one does the latter, not the former. Continue reading “Conservatives, Democrats and the convenience of denouncing free speech”

Contemporary art and cultural clashes in kathmandu.

by Satish Sharma: Rotigraphy

THURSDAY, 13 SEPTEMBER 2012

“Artist advised to paint works that are pleasing …not satirical…socio political works can only be exhibited during gai jatra..?
Artist’s paintings should be self explanatory? “a picture should speak a 1000 words”.
Artists need to follow traditional parameters while painting religious iconography….modern interpretations will be considered blasphemous
The state can take action against artists if these guidelines are not observed”
Sangeeta Thapa on ?Facebook?quoting or paraphrasing the?official?’police’ reaction.
Watching the Kathmandu gallery episode unfold on social media is a fascinating eye opener . ?So much to learn ?so ?much to think about. so many spaces to open up. in the ?minds of artists and even their local audiences. Continue reading “Contemporary art and cultural clashes in kathmandu.”

Assassination attempt on Clinton suppressed by media

Israeli and U.S. Media Conspired to Block Attempted Assassination of Clinton
Political Perspective by Tim King Salem-News.com
Hiding the event from the public makes the media guilty of treason.

Hilary Clinton meets politicians during her recent trip to Israel. There are reports that an assassination attempt had been made, which went largely unreported.vosizneias.com

(SALEM) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton survived an assassination attempt during an official visit to Israel this week, according to Israel Radio and Reuters.
Israel Radio broke the story. Normal security procedures that should have prevented any vehicle on open regions from coming within 200 meters of Clinton were not observed.
Those who follow news from the Middle east are probably not surprised by this. The United States as it turns out, is as devout in its support of Israel as it claims. The recent multiple standing ovations for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Congress, when he is an accused war criminal, apparently apparently mark an even greater dedication to Israel than the United States itself.
Ignoring an assassination attempt and hiding the event from the public makes the media guilty of treason. It really does. They have had their pants around their ankles for years, but this really takes the cake.
The media; CNN, BBC, all of the major networks and the New York Times itself, are worthless today. I have to admit I am shocked that the press actually chose to suppress and thus, misrepresent the event to the public.
Many critics of Israel claim that its political leaders are not working in the interest of anything except war and domination. They have remained determined first and foremost, to take physical possession of Palestine; and Clinton is willing to throw her dignity under the bus in support of it. What a bunch of dishonest deceivers they are.
According to Zee News in India,

  • There was an assassination attempt on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while she was on an official visit to Israel, according to Israel Radio and a news agency.
  • Israel Radio broke the story earlier in the week, which was confirmed by sources inside Israel, but never mentioned again.
  • According to World Mathaba, the purported attack on Hillary was related to the current political upheaval in Israel — the aim being kill Hillary, blame Iran and take the focus off the domestic political meltdown in Tel Aviv.

The story grows darker. As we all know, at least five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria were murdered in a bus blast this week;
One of the only things we in this world can be sure of, is that Israel wants to wage a war on Iran. That is so exceedingly clear. Zee News is an established news agency in India.

  • According to sources, the attack on Hillary?s convoy, a minimum of three to five vehicles, travelling from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, follows the story earlier of an attack on a bus loaded with Israeli tourists that exploded in Bulgaria, which killed six persons.
  • According to World Mathaba, both the Bulgaria attack and the attempted assassination of Hillary was a Mossad “false flag” operation.

If Americans are so determined to support Israel, perhaps they should move there, and that suggestion applies to all who value Israeli interests on a high level than those of the United States of America.
Israel is an apartheid state like South Africa; it is founded on the concept of racial superiority, it is not a nation of Holocaust survivors, and most of those who survived the horrors of the Nazi death machine do not favor Israel’s genocidal position toward Palestine, and they especially deplore Israel’s separate laws and roads for Jews and non-Jews.
Did Clinton make the mistake of driving on a Jewish-only road?
Was there an assassination attempt on Hillary in Israel? – Zee News
Was there an assassination attempt on Hillary Clinton in Israel? – News Track India
The rest of Hillary’s trip didn’t go too smoothly either. This was reported from Egypt.
The protesting crowds hailed the motorcade with vegetables and other objects, reportedly hitting one of the Egyptian officials in the convoy in the face. The American armored motorcade suffered only superficial damage while Hillary Clinton?s car remained intact.
There have been reports of the protesters chanting “Leave, Clinton? and “Monica, Monica,” presumably referring to the scandal with the secretary?s husband, former US President Bill Clinton?s extra-marital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.