The one newspaper of Bangladesh’s most important opposition get together halted printing on Monday after a authorities suspension order was upheld, stoking fears about media freedom within the South Asian nation.
Campaigners and overseas governments together with the US have lengthy expressed worries about efforts by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to silence criticism and what they see as creeping authoritarianism.
The Dainik Dinkal, a broadsheet Bengali-language newspaper, has been a significant voice of the Bangladesh Nationalist Celebration (BNP) for greater than three a long time. It employs lots of of journalists and press employees.
It covers information tales that the mainstream newspapers, most of that are managed by pro-government businessmen, hardly ever do.
This contains the frequent arrests of BNP activists and what the get together says are 1000’s of pretend circumstances in opposition to its supporters.
The newspaper stated the Dhaka district authorities ordered the shutdown on December 26, but it surely continued to publish after making an attraction on the Press Council headed by a high excessive courtroom decide.
“The council rejected our attraction yesterday (Sunday), upholding the district Justice of the Peace’s order to cease our publication,” Shamsur Rahman Shimul Biswas, managing editor of the newspaper, informed AFP.
The order, a duplicate of which was obtained by AFP, stated the printing allow of the newspaper was cancelled after the newspaper violated the nation’s printing and publication legal guidelines.
The council stated the paper’s writer, Tarique Rahman — the performing chief of BNP — was a convicted felony and was dwelling overseas with out handing over his job to a different particular person.
Biswas stated Rahman, now primarily based in London, submitted his resignation and appointed a brand new writer, however the authorities didn’t settle for the modifications.
“This shutdown is all a part of the federal government crackdown on dissenting voices and freedom of speech,” Biswas stated.
The federal government on Monday didn’t touch upon the shutdown.
Two Dhaka-based journalist unions stated in a joint assertion that the choice was a “reflection of the repression of opposition voices”.
Unions and journalists staged small road protests over the shutdown on Monday.
Final month, Hasina’s authorities ordered the closure of 191 web sites it accuses of publishing “anti-state information”, citing intelligence stories.
The Bangladesh authorities has beforehand blocked web sites a number of occasions, notably in December 2018 forward of nationwide elections.
The 2022 World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters With out Borders ranked Bangladesh at 162, worse than Russia (155) and Afghanistan (156).
Bangladesh’s draconian Digital Safety Act, underneath which lots of of individuals have been arrested since 2018, has brought about explicit alarm.