Channel i Managing Director Faridur Reza Sagar was sued in one case and Barrister Sumon in another
A Dhaka court has asked the Police Bureau of Investigation to submit on November 1 its probe reports in two cases — one filed on charges of negatively presenting specially-abled people in a TV show and another for making derogatory comments about children with special needs on a TV talk show.
Dhaka Additional Metropolitan Magistrate Abu Bakar Siddique fixed the new date after the PBI failed to submit its reports on Wednesday.
On August 11, Bashir Al Hossain, 45, a specially-abled person from Gazipur, filed one of the two cases against the producer, director and others involved in the production of an Eid special tele-fiction titled “Ghotona Shotto”, which insensitively addressed children with special needs, under the Persons with Disabilities Rights and Protection Act.
After recording the plaintiff’s statement, the court had asked the PBI to submit its report by September 22 after conducting a probe over the allegations.
The accused in this case are Channel i Managing Director Faridur Reza Sagar, Channel i spokesperson Shykh Seraj, scriptwriter Moinul Shanu, director Rubel Hasan, actors Mehazabien Chowdhury and Afran Nisho, and the CEO of Ghotona Shotto’s production house Central Music and Video (CMV) Entertainment.
According to the allegations, the tele-fiction was enlisted as part of private television station Channel i’s Eid-ul-Azha special programs, and was uploaded on CMV’s YouTube channel on July 23.
It tells the story of a couple, played by Afran Nisho as a driver and Mehazabien Chowdhury as a housemaid, who mischievously deceive their service-takers.
At one point, the tele-fiction showcases that the couple was bestowed with a child with special needs, and the couple wonder if their child’s condition is a result of their misdeeds.
After the airing of the tele-fiction, Amrin Zaman, a mother, first addressed the issue in a Facebook live video. A large number of audiences have since expressed their disgust on social media over the portrayed message, raising questions about the sensitivity of the makers towards the topic of children with special needs.
Amid the controversy, the fiction was then immediately taken down from CMV’s YouTube channel. Later, the cast and crew also publicly apologized across social media through a joint statement.
Meanwhile, the same plaintiff filed another case against Barrister Syed Sayedul Haque Sumon and five others for reportedly making hurtful comparisons regarding specially-abled people on a TV talk show.
The others accused in the case are Channel i Managing Director Faridur Reza Sagar, Channel i spokesperson Shykh Seraj, the talk show’s planner Jahid Newaz Khan, producer Raju Alam and presenter Shoma Islam.
According to the case details, on July 11, Sumon likened the deplorable state of football in the country to a “disabled boy” on the talk show titled “Metrocem to the Point”, which aired on Channel i.
Barrister Sumon, a prominent lawyer of the Supreme Court and a much talked about figure for his social media appearances, was recently removed from the post of legal affairs secretary of the Awami Jubo League central committee.