‘Black laws’ being used to ‘gag’ media: BNP

‘Black laws’ being used to ‘gag’ media: BNP

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BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday alleged that ‘black laws’ are being used to gag the media and repress journalists in Bangladesh.

In a statement, he said, “It’s a matter of great regret that the present Awami government has revived Baksal and continued suppressing newspapers and oppressing journalists.”

The BNP leader said, “The freedom of the press and the freedom of expression have been strangled by enacting various black laws.”

The statement was issued marking the shutdown of all newspapers except state-run four ones on 16 June 1975.

Fakhrul said journalists have brutally been tortured and imprisoned in ‘false’ cases for publishing the truth and trying to do journalism independently. “Even, journalists have been subjected to enforced disappearances and killings.”

Under the circumstances, he said, “All the media houses in the country are now scared of publishing the truth thinking about the government's possible wraths.”

The BNP leader urged the journalists to get united and work together to protect press freedom and ‘restore endangered’ democracy.

“The 16 June 1975 is a black day in Bangladesh history as the then extremely authoritarian one-party Baksal government had closed all the newspapers except four loyal to it, making the entire nation speechless," he alleged.

Fakhrul said snatching the freedom of the press means blocking thoughts and conscience.

He claimed that their party founder Ziaur Rahman later restored the freedom of the press by introducing multiparty democracy.