Freethinkers need to unite and work for common cause
Speakers at a discussion today opined that a greater unity among the country's freethinkers -- including public intellectuals, writers, journalists and artistes -- for a common cause is required to ensure freedom of expression.
For this, freethinkers need to optimise the use of social media to reach mass people, alongside taking the opportunity to express their thoughts in the mainstream media, they said.
Rashtrochinta, a journal, organised the discussion on "Existing political reality: Role of intellectuals-writers-artistes-litterateurs" at the capital's Jatiya Press Club.
Oppressive state machinery can create a "strong storyline" for its own cause and materialise different objectives, said urban planner Khandaker Niaz Rahman.
The role of freethinkers in such a situation should be to counter the storyline and deconstruct it, he said.
He added that due to an increase in surveillance, people have become more indifferent.
Prof Asif Nazrul of Dhaka University's law department said freethinkers need to be united and demonstrate their courage.
He laid emphasis on freethinkers' ability to utilise their access to social media properly.
Moshreka Aditi Huq, associate professor at the anthropology department of Chittagong University, said an undemocratic situation can give rise to "political apathy" among people.
This could create inertia in terms of political expectation, she said, stressing for freethinkers to work on a common platform.
Litterateur Rakhal Raha said irrespective of the nature of a state machinery, there has to be freedom of expression and people's right to vote.
Freethinkers should work to ensure people's voting rights and freedom of expression, he also said.
Rakhal Raha stressed that freedom of expression for journalists is crucial.