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Editors’ Council expresses concern over arrest warrant against Prothom Alo editor

  • Published at 12:24 am January 21st, 2020
Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman
File photo: Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman leaves High Court after getting bail on Monday, January 20, 2020 Dhaka Tribune

'We have also noticed with alarm the unusual haste with which the arrest warrants were issued and the police going into action'

Sampadak Parishad (Editors’ Council) has expressed deep concerns over the recent events surrounding the issuance of arrest warrant against Prothom Alo Editor and Publisher Matiur Rahman and five of his colleagues. 

Issuing a statement, the council members said the move to arrest the prominent editor and his colleagues clearly signals “an attempt to intimidate and harass the press and the journalists concerned.” 

The full statement of the Editors’ Council:

While thanking the honourable High Court for granting bail, the Sampadak Parishad expresses its deep concern at the recent events surrounding the issuance of arrest warrant against Matiur Rahman, editor and publisher of Prothom Alo; Anisul Hoque, associate editor; and four staff members of  the daily in connection with the accidental death by electrocution of school student Naimul Abrar Rahat and subsequent house raids by police.

While the cause of justice, for which we have full respect, could have been equally served by issuing a summon to Matiur Rahman and others, especially when the former was not even present on the ccasion, the move to arrest the prominent editor and his colleagues clearly signals an attempt to intimidate  and harass the press and the journalists concerned. 

We have also noticed with alarm the unusual haste with which the arrest warrants were issued and the police going into action.

These moves have added to the already restrictive atmosphere within which the media in Bangladesh are forced to function at the moment due to the operation of anti-free press laws like the Digital Security Act, ICT Act, etc. including  the defamation laws.  

The rising misuse and abuse of these laws have also caused the media to suffer from regular harassment and self-censorship. 

We are forced  to express the fear that under present conditions it is becoming increasingly difficult for the media to fulfil its constitutionally guaranteed role. 

We demand that Matiur Rahman and all others be guaranteed full protection under the law and their media institutions not be forced to suffer from any form of harassment.

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