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Newsmakers: Bangla blog world engages in celeb talk

Categories: South Asia, Bangladesh, Arts & Culture, Freedom of Speech, Literature, Media & Journalism

A few weeks back, the celebrity heiress Paris Hilton [1] went in and out of jail and the media lapped up her every move. We learnt about her diet, beauty regimen, ‘mysterious’ illness and even her remorse. Paris herself made the best of this opportunity and promised to pen a jail diary, to be sold to the highest bidder. Bangla blogger Konfusius [2] followed the entire event with keen interest and wondered why Bangladeshi celebrity politicians fail to inspire such media frenzy, even as many of them head for incarceration. Does the Bangladeshi media then lack a sense of humor? He asks.

While Paris was busy penning her diaries, two famous literary personalities were creating a buzz in the Bangla blogosphere, creating a debate around the right of freedom of expression.

Novelist Salman Rushdie [3] was honored with a knighthood, sparking protests in parts of the Muslim world. The sparks touched the Bangla world as well. Blogger Apbak [4] found these protests by religious fanatics shameful. He felt that by undertaking such protests and launching fatwas at the slightest pretext, the Muslim community was getting more and more alienated and the inherent goodness of Islam was being forced to take a backseat.

Bangladeshi Author in exile, the fiery Taslima Nasrin's [5] article “Tumi bhalo theko priyo desh” (Keep well, my dear country) started a conversation among bloggers, debating whether or not the ban on her should be lifted. Tariq [6], for one, felt that she should be allowed to return to Bangladesh, her homeland.

And talking of freedom of expression, it seems that the Bangla blogosphere needs more space to express itself. Breaking away from Somewherein [7], a group of Bangladeshi bloggers have launched a new blogging platform Sachalayatan [8] . According to Arup [9], the space would be more like an online magazine, with contributors being given their own blog spaces. Currently however, the platform does not allow comments by all readers and is being strictly moderated. Will wait and watch to see how conversations develop in this newly created space.