Avijit Roy, the blogger slain on Thursday night at Dhaka University in Bangladesh, was among the most well-known writers in the country. He had been nominated for DW's 2014 "The Bobs – Best of Online Activism" award.
The forty-year old Bangladesh-born US blogger and activist published writings on human rights issues, among other things, critical articles on religious fundamentalism on his blog (mukto-mona.com). He also used this platform to fight for gay and lesbian rights – a taboo subject in the predominantly Muslim country. He had been the target of repeated death threats prior to his murder. Roy, who lived in the US, travelled to Bangladesh with his wife to attend a book launch event.
"The murder of Avijit Roy is an abhorrent crime," says DW Editor-in-Chief Alexander Kudascheff. Kudascheff points out that "there are severe restrictions on freedom of speech and freedom of the press in Bangladesh. Courageous journalists and writers, who are critical about religious issues, face hostility and live in constant danger. Therefore, Deutsche Welle, with its Bengali Service, offers a platform for those voices that are not being heard in Bangladesh."
"A culture of intolerance, fostered by both the governing and opposition parties makes any form of dissent a dangerous act," says Dr. Shahidul Alam, a famous photographer and long-standing jury member of The Bobs. "While such behavior is to be abhorred irrespective of the perpetrator, the government, by actively encouraging repressive behavior and creating an environment of complete impunity for those in power, has nurtured such behavior. This has led to a culture of fear."
With The Bobs – Best of Online Activism 2015 (thebobs.com), Deutsche Welle honors exceptional online activists and projects from around the world for the 11th time.
DW Bengali Service
Bengali is one of Deutsche Welle's current 30 languages. The Bengali Service, founded 40 years ago, offers multimedia online content at www.dw.de/bengali. It has produced more than 100 editions of the science magazine "Onneshon" for TV partner stations in Bangladesh and India. Its Facebook page, where bloggers regularly interact on human rights and political issues, has more than one million fans.