Foundation of the state hit

Published : 30 Mar 2023 11:14 PM

Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud raised question whether dishonouring the country's independence by writing lies using the name of a child in exchange of TK  10 is a crime or not. 

"It is like publishing the news on Basanti's net wearing," he said. 

"Is not it a crime to eyebeam the independence by writing falsehood using the name of a child offering him TK 10? It is almost identical to publishing fake news on Basanti's wearing a net," he told journalists after unwrapping a book titled 'Bangabandhu in Newspaper Advertisements' published by Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB) at the conference room of his ministry in the secretariat on Thursday. 

He raised the question responding to journalists' query about a news story published on Prothom Alo's online edition and later posted on its Facebook page on the Independence Day.

In response to the questions of the journalists, the minister said, "In this incident, the foundation of the state has been hit by lies, freedom has been mocked. On Independence Day, at the National Memorial which is a symbol of our freedom, a boy was lured with 10 rupees to talk to him and what he did not say was publicized. They removed it because it wasn't right. So the state has definitely been hit here.'

Additional Secretary of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry Md Faruque Ahmed, PIB Director General Zafar Wazed and writer and researcher Papi Debi Thapa were present on the occasion, among others.

The journalists also asked the minister about the trials of arranging musical function centring Meril-Prothom Alo award function on the day of collapsing Rana Plaza that killed hundreds of people in 2013, death of a schoolboy by electrification at a Prothom Alo programme at Dhaka Residential Model College compound  in the city and ridiculing the Independence by writing falsehood in the name of a child on the Independence Day.

Replying to those questions, Dr Hasan, also Awami League joint general secretary, said, "I would like to ask you that publishing a report on the Independence Day ridiculing the Independence, trying to force a child to make comments in exchange of TK 10 and later writing fake comments in the name of the kid . . . doesn't it go against the ethics of journalism? Therefore, it (the news of Prothom Alo) is facing strong criticism".

They (Prothom Alo authority) withdrew the news afterwards as they could realize that it was not correct, he said, adding but the screenshots of the news were saved in different domains and shared by many people, which are still available and rolling in the social media.

 In this context, aggrieved persons have filed cases and the relevant journalist has also been arrested, the AL joint general secretary said, adding, "Everything will come out following the police investigation and the law will go on its own course".

Giving examples of digital security laws in countries around the world, Dr. Hasan said, "Such laws have been implemented in different countries of the world." Cyber Security Law and Regulation 2022 in United Kingdom, Cyber Law and Punishment in United States and similar laws are there in many countries of the world. In the United States, this type of crime is punishable by 20 years in prison. And if someone dies because of spreading rumors through digital media, the punishment for that digital crime is life imprisonment. Digital security laws in the US and many other countries are much tougher than ours.