Bangladesh newspaper head convicted for criticizing judge
Bangladesh’s top court on Thursday convicted a publisher of a leading newspaper of contempt of court for criticizing a judge, in the latest case against the country’s media.
Atiqullah Khan Masud and his deputy were fined taka 10,000 (US$125) each for the article criticizing the unnamed judge for speaking with the family of an opposition leader appealing against his death sentence for war crimes.
“Freedom of speech does not necessarily mean talking without any bridle,” Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told reporters after the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“There are many ways of practicing responsible journalism that wouldn’t hurt the court but would convey the message,” he said.
The article was published in July, days before a panel of four judges dismissed Salauddin Quader Chowdhury’s appeal against the death sentence for crimes committed during Bangladesh’s 1971 war of independence.
In the article, Bengali national daily newspaper Janakantha questioned whether it was ethical or common practice for judges to speak with appellants’ families outside of court.
The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party has claimed Chowdhury’s original conviction by a tribunal was influenced by the government and was politically motivated.