The storm of protest against bad journalism by the daily Prothom Alo, its falsehood and defamation of the Independence of Bangladesh continued in the capital city of Dhaka and elsewhere in the country.
As part of the protests, different organisations of journalists, professionals, students and cultural activists and freedom fighters as well on Saturday condemned the anti-state acts of the Prothom Alo and its conspiracies against the nation.
They staged demonstrations, held rallies, formed human chains and issued statements demanding exemplary punishment to the editor of Prothom Alo, its reporter and others, who support the defamation of the great Independence and the martyrs of the War of Liberation in 1971.
Students of Dhaka University staged angry demonstrations by putting blockades on Shahbagh intersection for about two hours on Saturday. During the demonstrations, they demanded immediate arrest of Prothom Alo editor Motiur Rahman.
Besides, leaders and activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League staged demonstration at Shahbagh echoing the same demand.
Jaman Sami, a student of 2017-18 academic session of Law department also organisational secretary of Sir AF Rahman hall Chhatra League, said, " Today we came here to protest yellow journalism practised by the Prothom Alo. Motiur Rahman, the editor of the daily, has been accused of child exploitation, killing a student of Dhaka Residential Model School and College.”
“We, the students of Dhaka University, are protesting this heinous act of the Prothom Alo. For doing such heinous acts, Motiur Rahman must be arrested soon," he added.
On March 26, ProthomAlo published a ‘ graphic card’ with a photograph and a quotation of a day labourer Zakir Hossain for sharing a news report on Facebook. However, the national daily later removed the post from online due to a discrepancy regarding the photo that was used with the news.
Later, the report was republished with necessary amendments and a note below the report regarding the correction. Later, Shamsuzzaman Shams, the paper’s Savar correspondent, who wrote the report was sued in a separate case under the DSA on Wednesday afternoon, around 10 hours after being picked up from his house near Jahangirnagar University by members of the Criminal Investigation Department of police.
Editor of one of the leading dailies Motiur Rahman was also sued under the Digital Security Act.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Sangbadpatra Parishad (BSP), Bangladesh Editors' Forum and Dhaka Bar Association on Saturday strongly protested publishing untrue news using a child by the daily Prothom Alo on the Independence Day on March 26.
In a joint statement, they demanded trial of the people involved in the acts of insulting the country's hard-earned Independence.
In the statement, Dhaka Lawyers Association President MdMizanur Rahman (Mamun) and General Secretary Khandkar Golam Kibria Jobair said, "The association strongly condemns and protests the publication of false, baseless, fabricated, anti-state and anti-independence news by the ProthomAlo."
Chief advisor of the Editors' Forum, Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, who is the editor of the Daily Observer,its convener Rafiqul Islam Ratan and member secretary Farooq Ahmed Talukdar in a statement said, "We strongly condemn and protest false, baseless and motivated news the daily ProthomAlo is publishing to tarnish the image of the state and the nation".
The forum leaders demanded trial of those responsible for the incident under specific case avoiding arrest at night.
Editors Guild, Bangladesh President Mozammel Babu and General Secretary Inam Ahmed signed the statement.
"Publishing fabricated and purposeful news is not journalism, it is a non-journalistic approach. Editors Guild, Bangladesh strongly condemns it," said the statement.
Noting that no one is above the law, the editors' body, however, asked for taking opinion of the Press Council before filing any case if anyone is aggrieved by any report published in the mainstream media.
Earlier, Dhaka University Teachers Association (DUTA) and the Editors Guild, an organization of editors of print, electronic and online media, issued similar statements condemning and protesting against such false news published by the Daily ProthomAlo.
Bangladesh Swadhinata Parishad, Bangabandhu Sangskritik Jote and various social and cultural organizations also formed human chains and held protest rallies condemning publication of news insulting the country's Independence.
The Editors Guild, Bangladesh also strongly condemned the ProthomAlo's controversial report published on the Independence Day, saying that it is tantamount to undermining the country's glorious independence.
"The controversial report published by the Prothom Alo on the Independence Day on March 26 is tantamount to undermining the country's glorious independence. It is a part of the continuous effort to serve an agenda in the name of journalism," said the combined platform of online, print and electronic media editors in a statement issued on Friday night.