The government said as Bangladesh a party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child it would not tolerate any act of abusing children, noting that Prothom Alo journalist Shamsuzzaman Shams was arrested because of “child abuse and exploitation”.
“The government would also not accept any such effort aimed at maligning the Independence Day of the nation,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.
The government of Bangladesh is committed to upholding the freedom of expression for all its citizens and the media, the foreign ministry said.
However, it said, creating social unrest by undertaking such “fraudulent acts” is contrary to the spirit of honest journalism.
The ministry said it has been brought to the notice of the government that some international media and institutions are claiming that a journalist in Bangladesh, named Shamsuzzaman, has been arrested as he wrote about the “cost of living in Bangladesh”.
“This information is totally false and fabricated. This journalist was arrested because of ‘child abuse’ and ‘child exploitation,” the foreign ministry said.
Many media outlets have been continuously reporting on the cost of living in Bangladesh since the be-ginning of the Ukraine war which has caused inflation around the world.
“No one has been arrested due to such reporting. The said journalist was arrested because of child abuse and child exploitation, as he offered ten taka to a 9-year-old boy and then expressed his own views in the name of that child,” the ministry said.
“That is surely an act of child abuse and exploitation. Secondly, he tried to undermine the independence of Bangladesh on the great Independence Day. These acts are surely tantamount to punishable crimes,” the foreign ministry said.