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Monday, January 30, 2023

HC for removing Al Jazeera report from online platforms

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The High Court (HC) today ordered Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to remove a report titled “All the Prime Minister’s Men” of Al Jazeera, a Qatar based news channel, from all the online platforms in the country.

A High Court division virtual bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah passed the order today after holding hearing on a writ petition filed in this regard. The court disposed of the matter.

“The court ordered to immediate remove the documentary from all the online platforms. The court has asked to immediately execute the order. If necessary BTRC should contact authorities of different online platforms,” BTRC counsel Khandaker Reza-e-Rakib told newsmen.

Earlier on February 15, the court heard legal opinions of six amici curiae (friends of court) on the matter.

Earlier on February 10, the High Court had appointed senior lawyers AJ Mohammad Ali, Kamal Ul Alam, Abdul Matin Khasru, Fida M Kamal, Prabir Niyogi and Dr Shahdin Malik as amici curiae in the case.

Supreme Court lawyer Md Enamul Kabir Emon filed the writ on February 8. In the petition, the petitioner pleaded for High Court’s directive on the authorities concerned to ban broadcast of Al Jazeera in the country and also court’s order to remove the contents of Al Jazeera’s report titled “All the Prime Minister’s Men” from all social media, including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Officials concerned including Post and Telecommunications Secretary, Information Secretary, Home Secretary, BTRC Chairman and Inspector General of Police were made respondents in the writ.

Al Jazeera broadcasted the report on February 1. The government dismissed the report, calling it “false and defamatory” and a desperate “smear campaign” instigated by extremists and their allies, working in London and elsewhere.

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