Bangladesh: Police arrest NTV bureau chief under Digital Security Act

Abu Tayyab, a senior television journalist, was arrested by police on April 20 under the controversial Digital Security Act (DSA) for writing social media posts about alleged corruption by Khulna City Corporation (KCC) mayor, Talukder Abdul Khaleque. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urges the KCC mayor to drop all charges against the journalist.

Tayab, Khulna bureau chief of NTV, a private television channel, was arrested on April 20 following the filing of a case against the journalist under the DSA on April 19. Tayab is accused of spreading ‘negative propaganda’ on his Facebook account and of defaming the KCC mayor, who is also the president of Awami League's city unit, by publishing false news stories regarding the mayor’s alleged corruption.

Following his arrest, Tayab faced  Khulna Metropolitan Magistrate’s court on April 21. The court Magistrate, Tariqul Islam, rejected the bail petition filed by the journalist’s lawyer.

Bangladesh’s DSA, adopted in October 2018, puts dangerous restrictions on freedom of expression and is regularly used by authorities to silence criticism. During 2020, arrests under the DSA increased significantly to crackdown on Covid-19 ‘rumours’. Bangladeshi writer, Mushtaq Ahmed, was detained under the DSA in May 2020 for posting criticism of the government’s response to Covid-19 on Facebook; he died in police custody on February 25, 2021.

Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF) said: “The BMSF strongly condemns the arrest of the journalist Abu Tayab and demands his release.”

The IFJ said: “False accusations towards journalists and the implementation of the draconian DSA has posed a serious threat to press freedom and freedom of expression in Bangladesh. The government of Bangladesh must scrap the DSA immediately.”

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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