• Wednesday, Jun 29, 2022
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Journos threaten to besiege Information Ministry over case filed under Sec 57

  • Published at 10:13 pm June 15th, 2017
Journos threaten to besiege Information Ministry over case filed under Sec 57
Journalists held a protest on Thursday demanding the withdrawal of a case against bdnews24.com journalist Golam Mujtaba Dhruba filed under the controversial section 57 of the ICT Act by a Manikganj judge. Manikganj Senior Assistant Judge Mahbubur Rahman filed the case against Dhruba, on Tuesday for his article on June 11, that reported a heated exchange between the family of a sick teenage girl and court staffers who refused to move a truck that was blocking the road to move the belongings from Judge Mahbubur’s place. The family, which lives in a nearby apartment, was trying to take the sick teenager to a hospital on a motorcycle. Court staffers reportedly told the family that the truck will stay until they are done with moving the belongings of the judge, which prompted the melee. Judge Mahbubur wrote in the case statement that the reporter manipulated facts in his story and threatened the judge over the phone. Section 57, which stipulates that posting any content online that “causes to deteriorate law and order, prejudice the image of the state or person or hurt religious beliefs” is a non-bailable offence punishable with 7-14 years in prison and fines up to Tk1cr. The law has been widely criticised and also challenged in court. Protestors on Thursday threatened to besiege the Information Ministry on Sunday if the case is not withdrawn at the National Press Club, they also demanded section 57 of the ICT Act be repealed. “If the case is not withdrawn within 48 hours, we will rally from the press club on Sunday towards the Information Ministry and surround it until our voice is heard,” said Channel 24’s Senior Reporter Rashed Nizam. President of Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU)Shakhawat Hossain Badshah said the organisation stands behind Dhruba while demanding the controversial section 57 be repealed. “Both the law minister and information minister had assured us that the section would be repealed but that has not happened yet. We demand this issue be resolved immediately,” he added. President of Crime Reporters Association of Bangladesh (CRAB) Abu Saleh Akand alleged that section 57 of the ICT Act has been systematically used to repress journalists and freedom of speech, citing that the at least three cases have been filed against journalists in the last four months under this law. “This law was used by politicians, public representatives, drug dealers against journalists in the past. We now see that even judges use this controversial law of their own benefit. How are journalists supposed to do their jobs in a repressive environment like this? If the case is not withdrawn in next two days, we will take to the streets and protest until our demand is met,” he said. The Head of News at Bangla Tribune Harun Ur Rashid at the protest said that the reason why the case was filed under section 57 was to stifle the media’s voice. “There are many ways to file a complaint against a journalist or a news report. Doing this under section 57 was done deliberately to harm Dhruba’s career. We demand this case be withdrawn and section 57 repealed,” the former general secretary of CRAB, Harun said.
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