Court questions writ’s acceptability
Questioning the acceptability of the writ seeking directives to ban the broadcasting of Al Jazeera, the High Court on Wednesday appointed six amici curiae (friends of the court) to comment on whether the court can issue such an order.
The amici curiae are senior lawyers AJ Mohammad Ali, Kamal Ul Alam, Abdul Matin Khasru, Fida M Kamal, Prabir Niyogi and Dr Shahdin Malik.
The high court bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah passed the order.
The court, during the hearing, questioned the acceptability of the writ petition as the petitioner did not issue any notice to the authorities concerned of the government, according to media reports.
The High Court bench asked Anamul Kabir Emon, the petitioner, as to his personal aggrievance with the recently aired Al Jazeera documentary, "All the Prime Minister's Men", and whether the court could direct the Bangladesh government to ban the airing of an international television channel.
Mentioning that millions of people have already watched the documentary, the High Court remarked that removing its contents now would not make a difference.
However, the bench acknowledged that the country’s sentiments had been hurt as the reputation of the president, prime minister and army chief had been besmirched.
The court also inquired about the steps taken by the respondents — the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and government officials concerned — of the writ.
“Al Jazeera can broadcast more episodes on the issue in the future. The BTRC should take a step now,” Deputy Attorney General Nawroj Md Russel said during the hearing, reports BSS.
Lawyer Anamul Kabir Emon on Monday moved the High Court to stop the broadcasting of Al Jazeera in the country. He also sought an order for the removal of the news content from all social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Al Jazeera broadcasted the report on February 1. The Bangladesh government dismissed the report, calling it “false and defamatory” and a desperate “smear campaign” instigated by extremists and their allies, working in London and elsewhere.