Dhaka, Mar 29 (EFE).– Bangladesh police Wednesday arrested a journalist of a widely circulated Bengali daily over an alleged “false report” on the rising cost of living in the country.
The daily Prothom Alo, the highest-circulated newspaper in Bangladesh, published the report critical of the government during the Independence Day celebration on Mar.26.
Reporter Shamsuzzaman was embroiled in controversy after the report went viral on social media amid rising inflation that jumped from 5.86 in January 2022 to 8.57 in January 2023.
The report quoted a day laborer saying, “What I will do with independence if I do not have rice in my stomach. (I) sweat it out in the kitchen market. We need freedom of fish, meat, and rice.”
Shams was picked up by police from his home in Savar, on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka, in the early hours of Wednesday.
“A group of detective police came in plain clothes around 4:00 am and took Shams away with them. They returned with him to take his laptop, two mobile phones, and a computer hard disk,” Ferdous Alam, the landowner of the house where the reporter lived, told EFE.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan confirmed to reporters that police arrested Shams.
“If someone is aggrieved and wants justice, file a case at the police station, and the police can take action accordingly. As far as I know, a case has been filed,” Asaduzzaman said.
“The quote that the Prothom Alo journalist published was not correct. It was what you (reporters) published through 71-TV,” he said.
The newspaper posted the controversial comment and a photo of a boy not linked to the remarks in the same report.
Since the photo and comments were from different people, it sparked controversy, prompting the newspaper to delete the post from its social media pages and correct the news item on its website.
A pro-government television channel claimed that the newspaper journalists paid the boy Taka 10 (nine cents) to pose for the photograph. EFE