Date of Award

August 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Media Studies

First Advisor

David S Allen

Committee Members

Michael Newman, Michael Mirer


Bangladeshi Media, Journalism, Media Content, Politics, Press Freedom, Self-censorship


Self-censorship is one of the biggest threats to press freedom. Press freedom, as well as freedom of the expression, is an indicator of a society’s freedom and democracy. If the media cannot act freely, it can impact society’s ability to function as a democracy. Journalists often face pressures from various power structures to engage in self-censorship. While journalistic self-censorship has been examined in a number of different countries, no studies of journalistic self-censorship in Bangladesh have been undertaken or no studies have been undertaken to see what factors influence journalists to exercise self-censorship or to figure out reasons that make journalists in Bangladesh filter media content. Bangladesh’s unique history with journalism and expressive freedom makes Bangladesh an interesting site for the examination of journalistic self-censorship. Relying on an analysis of statements, writings and interviews of 38 journalists, the study revealed six factors that force journalists in Bangladesh to exercise self-censorship. The factors are: legal barriers, governmental interference, ownership, advertising, partisanship as unprofessional activity, and religion. This study found that the comments from journalists and media experts most frequently identify legal barriers, government interference, and partisanship as unprofessional activity as the greatest influences on self-censorship. Those institutional forces punish journalists who violate legal standards or do not reinforce the beliefs of the government or political party. Journalists who do reinforce those beliefs are rewarded with access to information, governmental positions, opportunities to travel and other rewards not commonly available to all people in Bangladesh.