People from different strata of society condemned and protested the warrant issued for the arrest of Bangladesh Pratidin Editor Naem Nizam and Bhorer Kagoj Editor Shyamol Dutta.
Journalist leaders and civil society members formed human chains and held protest rallies demanding the withdrawal of motivated case and recall of arrest warrant against Naem Nizam.
A Lalmonirhat court on January 2 issued the arrest warrant in a defamation suit filed by former State Minister Motahar Hossain.
On April 9 in 2014, a report was published in Bangladesh Pratidin involving alleged corruption committed by the state minister.
The Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) expressed grave concern over the arrest warrants against Bangladesh Pratidin Editor Naem Nizam and Bhorer Kagoj Editor Shamol Dutta based on false cases.
In a statement, DUJ president Shaban Mahmud and General Secretary Sohel Haider Chowdhury said their attention has been drawn to motivated cases and arrest warrant against the two editors.
They said, “The arrest warrants were issued for Naem Nizam in Lalmonirhat and Shamol Dutta in Rajshahi recently. The general public and the journalist community are stunned with the arrest warrants against editors in these motivated cases.”
Arrest warrant against professional journalists like the two during the democratic regime of Awami League led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is not acceptable at all, they opined.
They cautioned that the arrest warrant against editors may create distance between the government and the journalist community.
Meanwhile, members of Islamic University Kushtia, journalists, politicians, lawyers and civil society members in Lalmonirhat, Barisal, Comilla, Manikganj, Nilphamari, Rangpur and Faridpur formed human chains in protest against arrest warrants.
Earlier on January 10, Daily Sun acting Editor Enamul Hoque Chowdhury and leaders of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) and Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) condemned the arrest warrant.
“If anybody is aggrieved with any news item, he/she may send a rejoinder to be published in the daily.The aggrieved person may also go to the Press Council seeking remedy,” Enamul Hoque Chowdhury said.
“Suing an editor or reporter without resorting to rejoinder is unethical, unfair and abuse of the process of law,” he added.
Justice Md Mamtaz Uddin Ahmed, chairman of Bangladesh Press Council, said any person, if aggrieved with any report, should send rejoinder to be published in the newspaper concerned.
“If the rejoinder is not entertained, the aggrieved person should file a case with the Press Council seeking remedy,” he said, quoting the provision of section 12 of Press Council Act 1974.
The cases, filed against editors and reporters with courts at different places in the country following news items, are triable in the Press Council, he added.
“After receipt of the case, the Press Council issues notice upon both sides. Hearing both sides, the council resolves the issue,” he said.