Ensure freedom of expression, press | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 20, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:23 AM, January 20, 2020

Ensure freedom of expression, press

Parties, rights bodies urge after case against Prothom Alo editor

Different organisations yesterday expressed concern over the issuance of arrest warrant for Prothom Alo Editor and Publisher Matiur Rahman and nine others.

“It seems that the case and issuance of arrest warrant are intentional,” said the politburo of Bangladesher Workers Party, an ally of the ruling Awami League.

The quick steps and arrest warrant, instead of a thorough investigation, raise doubts, it said in a statement.

Leaders of the Left Democratic Alliance urged the government not to use the case as an opportunity to harass.

The case should not to be used to disrupt the right to freedom of expression and to curb the freedom of press, read the statement.

Mujahidul Islam Selim and Mohammad Shah Alam, president and general secretary of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, condemned the arrest warrant.

There is a legitimate fear among people that the actions were taken as a strategy to intimidate and harass the newspaper’s voice.

Ain o Salish Kendra in a statement said, “ASK thinks that this incident will deeply affect freedom of expression and press … .”

It added: “People’s concern has intensified, especially after the comments and statements made by ruling party leaders.”

It urged the authorities concerned to keep the trial free from any influence.

Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal President ASM Abdur Rab and its General Secretary Sanwar Hossain Talukder condemned the filing of the case.

Saiful Haque, general secretary of the Biplobi Workers Party of Bangladesh, expressed deep concern over the issuance of arrest warrant against journalists.

There are good reasons to express fear that the whole matter is intentional and biased, the party said.

Nagarik Parishad Conevener Mohammad Shamsuddin said Prothom Alo was an established and widely accepted newspaper. It would not have been possible for the accused to ignore a summon.

A summon would have been enough, he added.

On Saturday, Amnesty International South Asia said Bangladesh authorities must ensure that the trial against 10 people, including Matiur Rahman, follow due process.

“Authorities must therefore show restraint on any action that can amount to an attack on the freedom of expression in the country,” the international rights body said in a Facebook post.  

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