Daily Prothom Alo editor and publisher Matiur Rahman is not exposed to any harassment by the government, said Dr Salim Mahmud, secretary of Information and Research of Bangladesh Awami League.
He said Matiur Rahman has been sued for publishing report which is prejudicial to the country’s independence.
Dr Salim also rejected a statement of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) which condemned cases against Prothom Alo journalist Samsuzzaman Shams and its editor Matiur Rahman for publishing a report challenging emancipation of the country on the Independence Day on March 26.
Pointing to RSF, Dr Salim said “Prothom Alo editor is facing case for publishing a disdainful and malicious report on the country’s independence. The government of Bangladesh has not filed any case against the editor to intimidate the journalist community. The foreign journalists are perhaps ignorant of the past background of the country.”
Referring to 1/11 episode during the caretaker regime led by Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed, he said editor Matiur Rahman along with likeminded people conspired to depoliticise the country by suing and prosecuting political leaders.
“Not the state repressed the editor (Matiur Rahman). Rather, the editor tried to depoliticise the state,” he opined.
The editor published article in his daily under the heading “Two leaders have to quit politics”, Dr Salim said adding “I do not know whether editor of any democratic country played such heinous role.”
Matiur Rahman not only conspired against the top politicians but also Constitution of the country, he said.
“He (editor Matiur Rahman) tried to strangulate democratic governance to pave the way for longstanding unconstitutional rule. Had he succeeded in his bid, the country would have been ill-fated. Bangladesh might be a fragile country like Pakistan.”
Throwing a question to Reporters Without Borders, Dr Salim wanted to know “Does freedom of press allow any conspiracy to facilitate unconstitutional rule?”
“Are not giving Tk 10 to a child, taking his photo and publishing disdainful report on the country’s independence misquoting the child crimes? Is a journalist above law?”
Exploiting a child in exchange for money is unpardonable offence which endangers life of the minor, he opined.
“The journalist concerned tried like to benefit from abusing a first grader. It is a horrendous crime. What did they (foreign journalists) do in a similar situation in their countries?” Dr Salim asked.
He reminded RSF of freedom of press, separation powers, equality before law, fundamental rights, protection of citizens and election to every tier of governance requirements for democratic country.
The daily Prothom Alo hypes about its objective journalism and editorial transparency, but the newspaper was skeptical about embezzlement of company funds, money laundering and harassment of employees by Nobel Laureate Dr Muhammad Yunus, he continued.