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Bangladesh’s High Court releases full verdict on Al Jazeera report

DHAKA 

The High Court on Monday released a 37-page verdict ordering relevant authorities to remove the documentary titled “All the prime minister’s men” aired on Al Jazeera from all online platforms.

“We, as the children of this soil, are shocked and appalled by the reports that have been published against the head of state, the head of government and the army chief,” the High Court said.

However, there has been no visible steps on the part of the government officials to remove the news from online platforms since February 1, said the court as reported by Bangla Tribune.

The observation was made in the 37-page verdict issued by the High Court bench comprising Justice Mojibur Rahman Mia and Justice Kamrul Hossain Mollah.

The High Court has ordered the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to request Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram authorities to remove the report from online nationally and internationally and not re-upload it.

On February 8, Barrister Enamul Kabir Emon filed a writ petition in the High Court seeking directions to stop the broadcasting of Qatar-based television channel Al Jazeera from Bangladesh.

At the same time, the writ asked for instructions to remove the report titled “All the prime minister’s men,” broadcasted by the media, from all online platforms, including YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.

The secretary of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, the secretary of the Ministry of Information and Technology, the chairman of BTRC, the inspector general of Police and others were named as defendants.

Following the initial hearing of the writ petition, the High Court appointed six Amicus Curiae (friends of the court) to comment on whether the High Court could issue an order to stop the broadcasting of Al Jazeera and remove the video.

Later on February 17, the High Court ordered BTRC to remove the documentary “All the prime minister’s men” aired on Al Jazeera from all online and communication media. However, the High Court did not order to stop broadcasting of Al Jazeera in Bangladesh.

Incidentally, an investigative report was aired on Al Jazeera on February 1, titled “All the prime minister’s men.”

The report accused the government and various law enforcement agencies including the army. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Bangladesh Army also strongly condemned and protested the report.

In a statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said Al Jazeera’s report was an attempt to destabilize the country. This report has been made with the nefarious intention of hindering the development of the country. Those who have conspired to destabilize the country before are involved.

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