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Eminent citizens protest ‘anti-state conspiratorial news’ by Prothom Alo

Staff Reporter:

Some eminent citizens have strongly condemned and protested what they called “anti-state conspiratorial news” published by the daily Prothom Alo on Independence Day.
In a statement released on Sunday, the signatories including renowned intellectuals, educationists, doc-tors, engineers, journalists, researchers, and cultural personalities, said: “It is the media’s job to present an accurate picture of society, and the media must act responsibly, because published news has a deep impact on the public mind. But we note with deep concern that Prothom Alo is trying to tarnish the rep-utation of the country by publishing misleading information in a conspiratorial manner by disregarding this moral responsibility.”
“On Independence Day, they published a fabricated report mocking the independence of this country. As conscious citizens of the country, we strongly condemn this conspiratorial act,” the statement said.
“Prothom Alo’s report published a picture of a child and the statement of a day laborer, instead of rele-vant caption, below that photo. The quote mentioned in the caption clearly mocks the independence of Bangladesh. In the caption of one’s picture, publishing another person’s quote is against ethics,” the not-ed citizens observed.
“An investigative report by another media has already revealed that the child was lured into having his picture taken in exchange of money,” the statement said. “In this case, the child’s rights and dignity have been undermined.”
“Such immoral activities in the name of freedom of the press cannot be acceptable. Although the news-paper later admitted their mistake and withdrew the report, there is no scope to see it as a mere mistake considering the sequence of events. Such a report can play a role in creating an unstable situation by giv-ing rise to a negative perception of the state in the public mind,” the statement added.
“We request all concerned, including the international media and Bangladesh’s development partners, to not get confused by this conspiracy and understand the truth,” the signatories said.
“We believe in the freedom of the press. However, fabricated information for the purpose of creating an unstable situation must not be allowed. It is also necessary to ensure that no law, including the Digital Security Act, is misused in this process,” the statement said.
The 50 signatories of the statement include cultural personality and president of Bangabandhu Sanskritik Jote Tarana Halim; Sampritir Bangladesh Convenor Pijush Bandyopadhyay; President of Sammilito Sangskritik Jote Golam Quddus; Ekattor Television Editor-in-Chief Mozammel Babu; former Dean, Faculty of Social Science and chairperson, Department of Sociology at University of Dhaka, Professor Dr. Sadeka Halim; Dhaka University Professor Dr. AJM Shafiul Alam Bhuiyan; Senate Member of Dhaka University, Nuzhat Chowdhury; and President of the Institution of Engineers Bangladesh, Engi-neer Nurul Huda.

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