Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 9th December 2014.

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Photo of Nigel Dodds Nigel Dodds Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs), DUP Westminster Leader

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he plans to take to encourage the cessation of restrictions on freedom of religion and speech in Bangladesh.

Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

During the meeting between the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), and the Bangladesh Prime Minister in July, both agreed on the importance of an open society and political system in which democratic political participation and media freedoms are respected.

Where we have concerns over restrictions on freedom of religion and speech, we will continue to raise these with the government of Bangladesh.

Freedom of expression, including on the internet as well as more traditional media, is fundamental to building democracy. We believe that people must be allowed to freely discuss and debate issues, challenge their governments and make informed decisions in accordance with domestic and international human rights law. Encouraging free press helps to improve long-term social, political and economic stability.

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