Journalists at the university formed a human chain protesting the arrest and demanded that the captive be released
A Rajshahi court has sent Manik Raihan Bappy, former president of Rajshahi University (RU) Press Club and RU correspondent of Daily Jugantor, to jail in a case filed under the ICT Act.
The case was filed against Bappy for reportedly publishing fabricated news about a teacher at the university.
Confirming the matter, Shibganj police station Officer-in-Charge Farid Hossain said Bappy was arrested in connection with the case on Friday.
Meanwhile, journalists at the university formed a human chain protesting Bappy’s arrest and demanded his prompt release. The human chain was arranged at the university’s Central Library premises on Sunday afternoon.
Speakers at the demonstration said cases under the Digital Security Act are detrimental to freedom of speech. The purpose of the case is to intimidate and harass journalists so that they do not raise their voice against irregularities by influential individuals.
They also said the case had been lodged to cover up the illegal activities of the accused.
“Some ill-intentioned teachers of the university often try to pressure journalists so that they remain silent on their illegal power practices,” said Belal Hossain Biplob, general secretary of RU Pressclub and convenor of the human chain.
The human chain was also attended by Akram Hossain, senior vice-president of RU Pressclub, Arafat Rahman, president of RU Reporters Unity, and other prominent journalists of the district.
On October 25, 2015, RU computer science and engineering department Assistant Professor Kazi Zahidur Rahman filed the case with Moithar police station against 16 journalists. Bappy, who was working as the RU correspondent of news portal 24bdtime.com in 2015, was among those named in the case.
Police filed the charge sheet against seven journalists on September 29, 2020. The court then issued arrest warrants against the accused journalists as they had failed to surrender.