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Bangladeshi Editor Jailed

The Supreme Court of Bangladesh sentenced detained acting editor of the Daily Amar Desh, a Bangla newspaper, to six months imprisonment for committing a contempt of court. The court also fined him Tk 1 lakh. If he fails to pay the amount, he will has to serve one more month in jail, the court order said on Thursday. Earlier the court termed Mr. Rahman as ‘an Editor by chance’ as he had no academic knowledge and experience in journalism.

A six-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Mohammad Fazlul Karim declared the sentence for publishing a news in the Daily Amar Desh on April 21 of this year (2010) with the headline “Chamber bench means stay order in favor of the government”.

Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told the journalists that this is the first time the Supreme Court convicted any person and sentenced him to jail for committing contempt of court. He hopes that the judgment will prevent the trend of committing contempt of court and no body will dare to tarnish the image and dignity of the apex court.

On May 2, two lawyers filed the petition against Mahmudur and four journalists of the daily newspaper for publishing the report. The Supreme Court issued a contempt of court rule against Mahmudur and four others following the petition on June 2. The court also sentenced Aliullah Noman, staff reporter of the Daily Amar Desh, to one-month jail and fined him Tk 10,000.
He will have to serve seven-day behind bars in default to pay the fine.

The court also fined Hashmat Ali, publisher of the Daily Amar Desh, Tk 10,000. He will also have to serve seven days in default to pay the fine.

The court however pardoned Deputy Editor of the Daily Amar Desh, Syed Abdal Ahmed and News Editor Mujtahid Faruqui from the charge.

Before this The Supreme Court yesterday (Wednesday) termed Mahmudur Rahman as ‘an editor by chance’. Mr. Mahmudur informed the court that he does not have academic qualification on journalism, nor did he ever work as a reporter or sub-editor.

The court also asked him if he had contacted the judge concerned before the report about him was published in his daily. He replied, he thought that the concerned reporter had done that.

Mahmudur also said the report based on an investigation contained right information, and it was not contemptuous of court. Replying to a query of the court, Mahmudur said he himself had made the headline of the report.

The SC bench then observed he (Mahmudur) does not know how to address a judge of the apex court. It also said public confidence is the power of the judiciary, and if a judge is undermined, people’s confidence in the judiciary will be damaged.

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August 19, 2010 - Posted by | Media, Uncategorized | ,

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