Bangladesh journalist arrested for publishing ‘fake’ information on polls

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Dhaka, Jan 2 (IANS) The Bangladesh police arrested a journalist under the controversial anti-propaganda law and are looking for another one on allegations of publishing “fake” information about the elections held at the weekend, officials said on Wednesday.

Journalist Hedayet Hossain Mollah, a Dhaka Tribune and Bangla Tribune correspondent, was arrested on Tuesday evening in Khulna district after local administration chief filed a case against him, the officer-in-charge of the local police, Mahbubur Rahman, told Efe news.

“He gave fake information about election. He reported 22,419 more votes were cast than the total numbers of vote (in Khulna-1 constituency… This serious misinformation put us in an embarrassing situation,” said Rahman.

The Khulna administration chief also filed a case against Bengali newspaper Manab Zamin’s correspondent Rashidul Islam, who is currently on the run.

Both had cases filed against them under the controversial Digital Security Act, which provides jail sentences for publishing “propaganda” against the state and “spreading rumours” and also has provisions of life imprisonment for revealing state secrets and publishing “false or distorted” information.

The law, enacted in September has been criticized by media workers, who believe that it puts freedom of the press and expression at risk. It came into effect just three months before the Bangladesh general election.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s alliance won the polls with a thumping majority.



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