The report aired on February 1 stirring controversy
The High Court has ordered the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to remove the controversial investigative report, titled “All the Prime Minister’s Men,” aired by news channel Al Jazeera from all online and social media platforms.
The virtual bench of Justice Mubibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Molla passed the order on Wednesday, disposing of a writ seeking ban on the Qatar-based news channel in Bangladesh, reports Bangla Tribune.
However, the bench did not make any order to ban Al Jazeera.
Attorney General AM Amin Uddin represented the state during the hearing.
On February 8, lawyer Md Anamul Kabir Emon had moved the High Court seeking the ban and an order for removal of the news content from all social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Posts and telecommunications, information and communication technology secretaries, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission chairman and the inspector general of police were made respondents to the petition.
On February 15, five of the six amici curiae (friends of court) told the High Court (HC) that the writ was not acceptable.
The amici curiae – former attorney generals AJ Mohammad Ali and Fida M Kamal, and senior lawyers Kamal Ul Alam, Prabir Niyogi and Dr Shahdeen Malik – said that as the petitioner had not served any legal notice on the government asking for steps to be taken in this regard, the petition in question could not be accepted, according to media reports.
Meanwhile, Abdul Matin Khasru, the sixth amicus curiae, did not clearly speak on the relevance of the writ.
After the investigating report was published on February 1, Bangladesh government had dismissed it, calling it “false and defamatory” and a desperate “smear campaign” instigated by extremists and their allies, working in London and elsewhere.
Later on, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen also said that the government was exploring avenues to take legal steps against the Qatar-based news channel.
Other than the Foreign Ministry, Bangladesh Police Service Association and Bangladesh Army, among other professional bodies and organizations, also condemned the report.
The report had levelled various allegations against Army chief General Aziz Ahmed and his brothers, which went viral on social media and drew controversy from different quarters.
On Tuesday, General Aziz told reporters that the allegations were false, concocted and part of a conspiracy by vested groups.