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Dhaka Tribune

Digital Security Act: Thakurgaon hospital sues 3 journalists over Covid-19 reports

Journalist Tanvir, who was suffering from post-Covid symptoms and was hospitalized after being arrested, gets bail

Update : 11 Jul 2021, 01:41 PM

A case has been filed against three journalists in Thakurgaon under the Digital Security Act (DSA) for publishing reports on alleged irregularities and corruption related to food for Covid-19 patients at the Sadar Hospital.

The accused journalists are Tanvir Hasan Tanu, district correspondent of private channel Independent Television, Daily Ittefaq and online portal Jago News, Rahim Shuvo, district correspondent of online portal NewsBangla24.com, and Abdul Latif Litu, district correspondent of Bangladesh Pratidin and private TV channel News24.

Of them, Tanvir was arrested on Saturday night when he went to the Sadar police station to inquire about the case filed on Friday by Dr Nadirul Aziz Chapal, the supervisor of Thakurgaon Sadar Hospital.

On Sunday, Tanvir got bail when produced before the Thakurgaon Chief Judicial Magistrate Arifur Rahman.

The investigative officer in the case, Sub-Inspector (SI) Dalim Kumar, produced him before the court with a remand petition for five days. The defendant's lawyer sought the rejection of the remand plea and submitted a bail petition in its stead.

The court, after listening to both sides of the argument, granted bail for Tk5,000 bond money.

From left- Tanvir Hasan Tanu, Rahim Shuvo, and Abdul Latif Litu | Collected

Dr Chapal, in the case statement, alleged that a report published by the journalists about irregularities at the Sadar Hospital was fabricated and published to defame, spreading enmity, and hatred among people.

Hearing the news of Tanvir’s arrest, journalists of the district had staged a demonstration at the Press Club premises on Saturday, demanding his immediate release.

The case was filed after different news portals including Jago News and Bangladesh Pratidin last Wednesday and Thursday ran reports on allegations that Covid-19 patients were given food worth Tk60-70 instead of Tk300 at the Sadar Hospital.

Several journalists of the Thakurgaon district demonstrate at the Press Club premises on Saturday, July 10, 2021 | Dhaka Tribune 

Thakurgaon Press Club President Mansur Ali condemned the incident, saying: "Harassing journalists by suing them for doing honest reporting means silencing the voice of the country.”

He had said that they would go for tougher movements if Tanvir was not immediately released and the case was not withdrawn.

Meanwhile, Sadar police OC Tanvirul Islam earlier said that they had admitted Tanvir to Sadar Hospital around 1am on Sunday after witnessing that he was suffering from respiratory issues.

Journalist Tanvir Hasan Tanu, arrested in a Digital Security Case, undergoing treatment at Thakurgaon Sadar Hospital while being handcuffed to a bed in police custody on Sunday, July 11, 2021 | Dhaka Tribune

Later in the day, he was seen handcuffed to a bed at the hospital and undergoing treatment in police custody.

The journalist’s family members said Tanvir had recovered from Covid-19 recently, and tested negative on July 5. That’s why he was still weak and suffering from the post-Covid-19 complications.

Also Read -  Upsurge in Digital Security Act cases during the Covid-19 Pandemic

They expressed deep concern over his wellbeing.

Sadar Hospital’s Resident Medical Officer Dr Chayan had also confirmed that Tanvir was suffering from breathing issues and physical weakness.

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