Law minister says no bar on reporting
Leaders of different media houses have demanded more clarity on a recent Supreme Court instruction to refrain from publishing news on sub judice cases.
Editors Guild, a platform of media leaders, in a statement on Sunday said it would not be possible to report on sub judice cases— lawsuits under judicial consideration—if they are required to follow the instruction as framed by the court.
The platform believes that the issue needs to be made clearer in the interest of Bangladesh's press freedom.
On May 16, the High Court Division issued a circular saying that it was unprecedented that many electronic and some print media have reported and published articles on sub judice cases.
The circular then went on to request that such news not be published or broadcast.
"Mass media sometimes publishes the exchange of information between judges and lawyers during a hearing if they are considered to be important or relevant," reads the statement by the Editors Guild.
Signed by its president, Toufique Imrose Khalidi, the statement added that the press had agreed not to comment or make any observations on any sub judice cases.
"But if the latest instruction is followed, the news can only be published after the end of a trial, when the verdict is pronounced," it added, arguing that it is very important "to ensure transparency and accountability" in all organs of the state—executive, legislative and judiciary branches.
No bar on reporting
Meanwhile, Law Minister Anisul Huq said there is no bar on reporting on sub judice cases.
He explained: “I do not think the High Court has issued any circular issuing a bar on reporting. There is no objection on reporting on sub judice matter, but there is a bar on issuing personal statements while reporting on such cases.”
While briefing reporters at the secretariat on Sunday, he said the justices were against publishing of personal opinions on sub judice cases that could lead to a trial by the press.
"This is why the circular was issued—to prohibit publishing any personal observations on sub judice cases,” the law minister added.