Bangladesh: Dainik Dinkal suspension appeal denied

The Bangladesh Press Council (BPC) has rejected an appeal made by the Bengali-language newspaper Dainik Dinkal on February 19 concerning the Dhaka district authority’s order for the newspaper’s shutdown on December 26, 2022. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) expresses concern at the restrictive control of the Bangladesh authorities over independent and critical voices and calls for the immediate withdrawal of the decision.

Protest lead by staff of the Dainik Dinkal, newspaper for the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Credit: Twitter

The Dainik Dinkal newspaper was issued with a suspension order on December 26, 2022, by the BPC, which accused the newspaper of violating articles 10, 11, 16, and 21(1) of the Printing Presses and Publications (Declaration and Registration) Act. Media analysts in Bangladesh claim the newspaper is a mouthpiece of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), previously covering news of the arrests and allegedly false cases brought against BNP members.   

Despite the suspension order, the newspaper continued printing until February 19, 2023, when the BPC finally endorsed the shutdown orders. The newspaper filed an appeal to the BPC, seeking revocation and allowing the newspaper to operate without interference.  

According to the Dhaka Tribune, the council termed the paper’s publisher and acting chief of the BNP, Tarique Rahman, as a ‘convicted criminal’ and rejected the appeal to cancel the suspension order. The newspaper has been publishing for 35 years and employs hundreds of journalists and media workers. 

Press freedom advocates and media bodies in Bangladesh, including the Dhaka Union of Journalists and the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists, raised concern at the government's abuse of power and restrictive control against the Dainik Dinkal and access to information in the country. The journalists' unions also staged a protest program in front of the Jatiya Press Club to condemn the suspension decision.   

In January 2023, under the instruction of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the government blocked 191 websites for similar accusations of publishing “anti-state news”. 

IFJ said: “The forced shutdown of Dainik Dinkal is highly concerning and threatens freedom of expression in Bangladesh. The IFJ urges the Bangladeshi authorities to immediately withdraw the suspension order and allow space for independent and pluralistic media to operate without fear of reprisal.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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