Editors’ statement on Mahmudur irks Inu

Defending the government action against vernacular Daily Amar Desh and two private channels, Diganta TV and Islamic Television, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu on Monday said there is no link between the freedom of press and the shutdown of the three media.“The steps the Dhaka district administration took against Amar Desh on April 13, 2013 have no connection with the freedom of press or its violation. The allegations brought against the newspaper and its editor were of specific criminal offences,” he said.
Inu came up with the strong remarks at a press conference at Bangladesh Secretariat in reaction to the statement issued by the editors of the country’s 15 daily newspapers on Saturday.
The editors, in the statement, demanded the government allow the recently closed Diganta TV and Islamic TV to go on air again and release Mahmudur Rahman. They also termed the government’s recent steps against the media a threat to the freedom of press and freedom of expression.
Rejecting the statement, the minister said, “Speaking in favour of a tainted person like Mahmudur Rahman is not good for the newspaper industry.  With this, the image of the media workers got tainted.”
Earlier on April 11, police arrested Mahmudur Rahman from his Karwanbazar office on charge of sedition.
Inu urged the editors not to advocate for the three media—Amar Desh, Islamic Television and Diganta TV.
He, however, said there is no legal bar to publishing Amar Desh from different printing presses.
About the shutdown of Diganta TV and Islamic Television, the minister said the government did not file any case against the two channels, rather served show case notices on them. “They (authorities of both channels) answered to the notices. If the answers are deemed to be satisfactory, the channels can go on air again.”
He blamed both the channels for airing the programme during the Hefajat May 5 rally in the capital in such a way which was provocative and played a direct role in deteriorating the law and order situation.
Turning to the editors’ statement, Inu said, “Isn’t hurting and provoking the religious sentiment, instigating unrest or cyber-hacking crime? Will the perpetrators of these crimes remain above law?”
He is of the view that the editors issued the statement without observing the facts properly.
Claiming that the media are enjoying the maximum freedom under the current regime, he said the government is not creating any bar towards expressing different views. UNB

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