Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh since 6 January 2009

Predator since 2014 (at least)

 Bangladesh, 152nd/180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index

Dear [Name of Candidate],

I am writing to ask you what you plan to do to defend the First Amendment, freedom of the press, and the fundamental rights of journalists to practice their profession freely in what has become an increasingly hostile environment for information and news providers.

The United States, which enshrines press freedom in the First Amendment of its Constitution, is currently witnessing a drastic decline in media freedom. On June 28, one of the most horrific attacks on press freedom in the United States occurred when five employees, including four reporters, were killed at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. According to the US Press Freedom Tracker, which comprehensively documents press freedom violations in the US committed by national, state, and local authorities as well as private individuals, 33 journalists were arrested, 43 were physically attacked, and 15 seizures of journalists’ equipment occurred in 2017. In one of these incidents, Rep. Greg Gianforte physically assaulted a Guardian journalist the night before his state’s election. While covering the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, journalists were impersonated on social media, impeding their ability to accurately investigate the facts and disseminate information which could be vital to preventing a similar tragedy. This hostility towards the press not only risks compromising the American public’s right to be informed through journalists’ reporting, but can also degrade the public’s trust in the media itself.

This is not a partisan issue; it is a fundamental right that impacts every American no matter their politics. Journalism is at the crux of our democracy, and communities everywhere rely on journalists to provide them with information that is essential to their daily decision-making processes. It was local investigative journalist Curt Guyette who broke the story about Flint, Michigan’s lack of access to clean water in 2014, prompting years of class-action lawsuits, protests, and subsequent federal assistance to the city in order to try to resolve the crisis. Reporters Megan Twohey, Jodi Kantor, and Ronan Farrow publicized sexual assault allegations against influential Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in 2017, leading to the ubiquitous and powerful #MeToo movement which brought decades of sexual abuse and harassment across multiple industries to light.

Yet freedom of the press in the US is currently in dire need of congressional support. It is our civic duty as one of the world’s leading democracies to uphold principles that support and protect the rights of journalists so that they may hold those in power accountable and ensure an informed and engaged community.

If you are elected, what do you plan to do to protect this utterly essential component of our democracy? What are your plans to protect the public’s right to be informed through a free and independent press?

[Your name]
Hello, my name is _______ and I am from [city, state].

I’m calling to let you know that [candidate/representative]'s stance on freedom of the press is extremely important in my decision to vote. I feel that this is not a partisan issue, but a fundamental right that impacts every American no matter their politics.

I have become increasingly concerned with the growing climate of hostility for journalists in this country, and I would like for [candidate/representative] to publicly address what they will do to defend press freedom if [he/she] is elected.

Thank you.
Freedom of the press is suffering in the US. @[yourcandidate] if you are elected to serve in Congress, what are your plans to protect journalists and our right to be informed? Will you #DefendPressFreedom?

Democracy depends on a free and independent press and its ability to hold those in power accountable. [@yourcandidate] will you take measures to protect journalism and the First Amendment? Will you #DefendPressFreedom?

In June, four reporters were murdered in an appalling targeted attack on the Capital Gazette and freedom of the press. [@yourcandidate] what will you do to address the growing threat to journalists in this country? #DefendPressFreedom

Press freedom is in steady decline in the US. I want my representative to defend the work of journalists as well as my right to be informed. [@yourcandidate] if you are elected what will you do to protect a free press? #DefendPressFreedom
Journalists play a crucial role in our democracy by keeping us informed and holding those in power accountable. And yet in the US, attacks on journalists are becoming more common, undermining the media's role and creating opportunities for government overreach, the erosion of press freedom, and impeding our right to be informed. I’m contacting my candidates and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. Join me at

A free press is essential to our democracy. Communities everywhere rely on journalists to report on our government’s actions and hold public figures accountable, providing us with the information we need to make decisions every day. And yet physical, verbal, and online attacks against journalists in the US are increasing at an astonishing rate. I’m contacting my candidates and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. You should too. Read more at

Press freedom is declining in the US at an alarming rate. Physical, verbal, and online attacks against journalists have increased drastically in the last two years. As the US midterm elections approach, we must remind our congressional candidates that journalists play a crucial role in our democracy by keeping us informed and holding those in power accountable. I’m contacting my representatives and encouraging them to defend press freedom during their midterm election campaign. Join in and help me spread the word at


Stay updated on #DefendPressFreedom

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    PREDATORY METHOD: The Digital Security Act, ultimate weapon for imposing self-censorship

    The eldest child of Sheikh Mujib, Bangladesh’s independence hero, Sheikh Hasina has been a leading figure in Bangladeshi politics since the early 1980s. For years, she led the opposition to various authoritarian regimes that used violence to persecute journalists. Then her party won the December 2008 parliamentary elections by a landslide, and she took office as prime minister the following month.


    Thereafter, she became increasingly more authoritarian and ready to crack down on press freedom. The trend was confirmed in 2014 when her reelection was made all the easier by the fact that the opposition was denied access to the news media. Although she claims to respect press freedom, her hold on power has been buttressed ever since by a refusal to tolerate any criticism.


    The Digital Security Act (DSA) adopted in 2018 has rounded off the arsenal that her government uses to impose her views. Packed with deliberately vague wording, it is the ultimate weapon for getting journalists to censor themselves. Online content “liable to disturb public order” is punishable by seven years in prison while “negative propaganda against (...) the Father of the Nation” – Sheikh Hasina’s own father – is punishable by 14 years in prison. In other words, vast, vaguely-defined areas have been rendered completely off limits.

    FAVOURITE TARGETS: Reporters who annoy her

    The Digital Security Act enables Sheikh Hasina’s supporters to harass all journalists and bloggers who annoy the authorities. In the first two years or so after it came into effect, it was used to prosecute around 400 individuals, including more than 70 journalists and bloggers. Those jailed under this law are subjected to such appalling conditions that one of them, Mushtaq Ahmed, died in prison in February 2021.

    The supporters of Sheikh Hasina’s party, the Awami League, and its student branch, the Chhatra League, serve as her enforcers in the field, harassing and attacking reporters to prevent them from covering streets protests or any form of unrest, especially during elections, sometimes acting as virtual lynch mobs. Journalists often end up in hospital and, in some cases, in the morgue.

    OFFICIAL DISCOURSE: Impose “real” facts

    “Journalists who do not publish false news need not worry about the DSA,” she said in October 2018 – the DSA being a law that allows the government to determine which news story is “true” and which one is “false.”

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