Dhaka, Wednesday, 26 October 2016

'This is not an attack on the media'

2016-02-20 12:31:33
'This is not an attack on the media'

A lawsuit filed against The Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam from all over the country, the Prime Minister's information and communication technology adviser and his son Sajeeb Wazed Joy said that 'it is not an attack on the media'.

Joy wrote on his Facebook status that, 'This is not an attack on the media. It is also not even criminal litigation. It is civil litigation. This is what happens in all countries with a modern legal system. If you cause someone harm, the aggrieved party has every right to sue you for damages.'

He also wrote on his wall, 'Several of our “civil society” and newspaper editors are criticizing the civil defamation lawsuits filed against Mahfuz Anam following his admission of running a false smear campaign against my mother. Our Government has not filed a single case against him. The cases are all civil in nature, claiming damages and monetary compensation.

So I would like to ask, is the media immune from any liability whatsoever? Mahfuz Anam admitted to running not just one, but a series of false stories against my mother, the daughter of Bangabandhu Father of the Nation and at the time a former Prime Minister. As a consequence of his actions my mother, at her age, had to spend 11 months in prison. After all that, he says, “Oops, my mistake!” And we should all forget about it and move on? There should be no justice for my mother, my family and our party the Awami League? There should be no accountability?

Politicians have to abide by the law or go to jail, police have to abide by the law or go to jail, but there is no law against writing false stories. The only recourse that politicians and famous personalities have is civil law by claiming damages. If nothing else, at least the pain of legal fees and time in court should make a journalist think twice before publishing something false and destroying a person’s good name. Yet, this group does not want to be held accountable even to this low bar. Instead they want to throw mud and call it an attack on the media.'

He further comments that, 'If Mahfuz Anam is feeling harassed, perhaps he should find out what spending 11 months in jail on false charges feels like.'

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