The Editors’ Council on Monday expressed its deep concern at the recent events surrounding the issuance of warrants arresting Prothom Alo editor and publisher Matiur Rahman, associate editor Anisul Huq and four staff members of the daily in connection with the accidental death by electrocution of school student Naimul Abrar Rahat and subsequent police raid on their houses.
A statement signed by its president Mahfuz Anam and secretary general Naem Nizam on behalf of the council also thanked the High Court for granting them bail.
‘While the cause of justice, for which we have full respect, could have been equally served by issuing a summon to Matiur Rahman and others, especially when the former was not even present on the occasion, the move to arrest the prominent editor and his colleagues clearly signals an attempt to intimidate and harass the press and the journalists concerned. We have also noticed with alarm the unusual haste with which the arrest warrants were issued and the police going
into action,’ the statement read.
It said, ‘these moves have added to the already restrictive atmosphere within which the media in Bangladesh are forced to function at the moment due to the operation of anti-free press laws like the Digital Security Act, ICT Act, etc. including the defamation laws. The rising misuse and abuse of these laws have also caused the media to suffer from regular harassment and self-censorship. We are forced to express the fear that under present conditions it is becoming increasingly difficult for the media to fulfill its constitutionally guaranteed role.’
The Council demanded that Matiur Rahman and all others be guaranteed full protection under the law and their media institutions not be forced to suffer from any form of harassment.
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