PPF seeks justice for detained Bangladeshi reporter
Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), in a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazidof Bangladesh, expressed concern over the arrest of reporter Nazmul Huda in Dhaka on Dec 24.
PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali urged the government of Bangladesh to properly investigate the charges against Huda, and to ensure that he gets a fair hearing. The letter also emphasized the need to end the persecution of journalists because of their profession.
According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the police accused Huda, who works for Bangla Daily and Ekushey TV (ETV), of reporting false information and encouraging the strike that began in mid-December in factories that produce clothes for leading international retail chains.
Huda was arrested because of his coverage of a strike by garment workers in Ashulia, the Dhaka suburb where Bangladesh’s biggest garment factories are located, RSF adds. His mobile phone and computer were also confiscated at the time of his arrest.
Huda distinguished himself in 2013 by being the only reporter to draw attention to structural problems in the Rana Plaza building in Dhaka before it collapsed, killing hundreds of garment workers and others.
A Dhaka police officer told Agence France-Presse that Huda is also accused of “destabilizing the government” and of meeting secretly with seven trade union leaders, who have also been arrested.
The authorities say he was arrested under section 57 of the Information, Communication & Technology Act (ICT Act), which states that deliberately publishing material in electronic form that “causes to deteriorate law and order, prejudice the image of the state or person, or causes to hurt religious belief” is punishable by seven to 14 years in prison.
PPF urged the government in Bangladesh to ensure that the case against Huda is properly investigated and to uphold its commitment to free expression.