Bangladesh: Journalist detained under Digital Security Act for a Facebook post

Police arrested Md Akhtaruzzaman on July 18 under the Digital Security Act (DSA) for a Facebook post accusing a health official and his office assistant of corruption. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges the police to drop the case against Md Akhtaruzzaman.

Journalist Aktaruzzaman. Credit: Dhaka Tribune

Akhtaruzzaman is a Bogura district correspondent for the Bengali-language daily newspaper Banijjo Pratidin and was arrested following a complaint filed by Shamima Akter with Bogura Sadar Police Station on July 17. The complaint was made over a Facebook Post uploaded on July 17 from the Facebook name, Aftab Ahmed accusing Md Samir Hossain Mishu, the Bogura Sadar Upazila Health and Family Planning Officer and his office’s Head Assistant and Accountant, Shamima Akter of embezzling money.

According to Emran Mahmud Tuhin, Bogura Police Detective Branch inspector, the Aftab Ahmed Facebook ID was operated by Akhtaruzzaman. After Akhtaruzzaman’s arrest, Sadar Upazila Family Planning Office filed against Akhtaruzzaman under the DSA, and he was sent to jail by a court on the same day.

IFJ’s South Asia Press Freedom Report 2020- 2021 noted the Bangladesh government’s weaponization of the DSA to crackdown on free speech, often targeting journalists.

The Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF) said: “The BMSF condemns the arrest of journalist Md Akhtaruzzaman under DSA and demands his immediate release.” 

The IFJ said: “The IFJ demand police to withdraw the case against Md Akhtaruzzaman. The IFJ urges the Bangladesh government to amend the Digital Security Act and bring it in line with Bangladesh’s constitutionally enshrined freedom of expression and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, which Bangladesh is a party to.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

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

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