The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is
deeply concerned over the arrest, mistreatment and possible torture of Mahmudur
Rahman publisher and editor of the daily Amar Desh by authorities in Bangladesh.
On June 1,
the Bangladesh Government cancelled registration of Amar Desh, saying it
was in breach of the law as it had no authorised or identifiable publisher.
Rahman was arrested the same day despite protests by the staff of his newspaper.
since been produced before a magistrate three times and committed successively
to police remand. Human rights groups in Bangladesh believe that he has
suffered serious mistreatment and possible torture while in custody. Rahman has
been charged with multiple cases of financial malfeasance by the country’s
Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
Amar Desh was bought by Rahman from its erstwhile publisher in 2009, shortly after Bangladesh
returned to civilian rule. His application to be registered as publisher of Amar Desh was rejected on the grounds
that he was ineligible, because of numerous cases registered against him.
newspaper’s registration was since cancelled by the Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka, who allegedly found that the publisher in whose
name Amar Desh was
registered had informed the authorities in March 2010 that he was ceasing his
involvement with the newspaper.
believe Rahman may have been targeted because of a recent series of reports in his
newspaper about alleged acts of malfeasance by senior government officials.
December 17, 2009, Amar Desh carried a report alleging irregularities in a transaction with a United States
oil company concluded on the recommendation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
Wajed’s energy adviser.
chairman of the Board of Investment and Energy Adviser in the 2001-06 Government
led by the Bangladesh National
Party, now in opposition. In June 2008, under the military-backed “emergency”
administration, he was indicted by the ACC for financial irregularities by a
Dhaka-based real estate enterprisethat he was involved with as director. He is
also known to have numerous other business interests.
case illustrates how the media in Bangladesh continues to be divided
and targeted on account of the bitter rivalry between the country’s two main
political parties,” IFJ General Secretary Aidan White
illustrates, above all, that the media community needs to work towards norms of
financial transparency in the industry and ensure that media ownership
interests are kept at arm’s length from other business pursuits.”
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
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