Bangladesh Authorities Must Prove Absence of Malice in Editor’s Arrest

The International

Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is deeply concerned over the arrest of Mohammad

Ekramul Haq, editor of the Sheersha News web portal and the associated weekly

newspaper Sheersha Kagoj in Dhaka, Bangladesh,

on July 31.


According to reports received from

the Bangladesh Manobadhikar Songbadik Forum (BMSF), Haq was arrested from his

home in a neighbourhood of the capital during the early hours that day on

charges of extortion.


He was reportedly led away

blindfolded and his family was allegedly dealt with roughly by the police

making the arrest. Haq has since been remanded to police custody.


Haq is alleged to have sent two

reporters to the office of a local businessman on July 25 and 26 to threaten

him with negative news stories on the Sheersha News website, if a sum of two

million taka (just under USD 27,000) was not handed over.


Reports received from Bangladesh

indicate that these allegations have been challenged by other journalists,

including staff at Sheersha News. They allege the businessman who made the

complaint against Haq before a local magistrate does not have his offices in

the premises named in his complaint.


Sources also inform the IFJ that the

editor’s arrest could be retribution for news reports carried on Sheersha News

regarding alleged corruption in public works projects in Dhaka.


“Political rivalries between the

ruling party and the principal opposition in Bangladesh have had serious

repercussions for the functioning of the press in the country,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.


“Keeping in view the context and the

allegations of political vendetta made in the present case by the leader of the

opposition in the Bangladesh Parliament, the authorities bear the onus of

establishing that there is an absence of malice in the arrest of Ekramul Haq.”


For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +91-9810518009



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