Matiur Rahman, the editor of Prothom Alo, one of Bangladesh’s most widely circulated newspapers, was informed he is being sued under the country’s Digital Security Act 2018 (DSA 2018) at midnight on Wednesday, 29 March 2023. On 2 April 2023, the court ordered the editor to appear before the Metropolitan Sessions Judge’s Court in six weeks’ time and urged him to seek bail.
According to news reports, Inspector Abu Ansar from Ramna police station has been put in charge of investigations. After filing the case, the Ramna police station failed to provide any further information or details about the case or about the allegations made against Rahman.
Reports also indicate that, in addition to Rahman, the case concerns an assistant cameraman, Samsuzzaman Shams, and others, who have yet to be named.
‘Filing a case against Matiur Rahman under DSA 2018 is an example of weaponising law to victimise journalists, communicators and editors,’ said Faruq Faisel, the Regional Director of ARTICLE 19 South Asia. ‘It’s a clear example of authorities threatening and using fear tactics against the country’s media.’
‘This continuation of legal harassment by abusing legal instruments must be stopped, and this kind of action is hampering the image of Bangladesh globally as a democratic country,’ he added.
ARTICLE 19 highlights that such incidents are increasing the ongoing tension in Bangladesh, not only among journalists and communicators, but also among the general public. In addition, this kind of behaviour is in conflict with citizens’ constitutional right to freedom of expression.
ARTICLE 19 calls on the government to drop the case against Matiur Rahman and urges it to take effective measures to prevent vexatious cases, incidents of assault, torture and harassment against journalists.
For more information, please contact:
Faruq Faisel, Regional Director, ARTICLE 19 South Asia
T +88(0) 1730 710 267