Editors’ Council on Wednesday in a statement expressed its grave concern about the case against editor-in-chief of the daily Manabzamin and 31 others under the Digital Security Act for publishing a news concerning the arrested Juba Mahila League leader Shamima Nur Papia.
It demanded immediate withdrawal of the case, said the statement issued by Editors’ Council president Mahfuz Anam and its secretary general Naem Nizam.
The case has been filed by ruling party lawmaker for Magura 1, Saifuzzaman Shikhor for allegedly defaming him in a story in which his name was not mentioned and no reference was made to him either directly or indirectly, said the statement.
The council fails to understand why the lawmaker, Saifuzzaman Shikhor should take upon himself to feel defamed when his name or any reference to him did not appear in any part of the report.
‘What was done in the social media by unknown users can in no way be attributed to Manabzamin, its editor-in-chief Matiur Rahman Chowdhury, and its reporter,’ it said.
The council considers the filing of the case as nothing more than an attempt to intimidate and harass the media and journalists in general.
Such use of DSA was the reason why Sampadak Parishad has been opposed to the Digital Security Act since its inception, the statement mentioned.
A Dhaka court on Tuesday asked the police to submit a report on March 20 in a case filed against the daily Manabzamin editor-in-chief Matiur Rahman Chowdhury and 31 others under the Digital Security Act on charge of ‘publishing false news and circulating it on social media.’
Saifuzzaman Shikhor, ruling party lawmaker for Magura 1, filed the case with Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station on Monday night.
In response to the case filed under the Digital Security Act 2018, Saad Hammadi, South Asia Campaigner at Amnesty International said in a statement that they were alarmed by the vague and overly-broad provisions within the Digital Security Act .
‘We call on the government to maintain restraint on further actions against the Manabzamin editor and 31 others and drop the case filed against them immediately,’ said the statement.
The case is a glaring example of how the law is being arbitrarily used against people by influential quarters and state agencies including the police, it said.
‘Bangladesh must decriminalise defamation and review the legislation so that it is in compliance with international human rights law including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Bangladesh is a state party,’ the statement said.
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