Bangladesh arrests journalist over election reporting

A Bangladeshi man walks past posters of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh, in Dhaka on December 29, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 02 January 2019
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Bangladesh arrests journalist over election reporting

  • Hedayet Hossain Mollah, who works for the Dhaka Tribune newspaper, was detained late Tuesday under a controversial digital security law
  • Hasina, 71, is accused of creeping authoritarianism, including muzzling the media and jailing prominent journalists

DHAKA: A Bangladeshi journalist was arrested and another was on the run Wednesday for publishing “false information” about voting irregularities in an election won by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, police said.
Hedayet Hossain Mollah, who works for the Dhaka Tribune newspaper, was detained late Tuesday under a controversial digital security law which rights groups say gives authorities broad powers to stifle dissent.
Mollah was arrested in the southern Khulna region after he reported that in one constituency 22,419 more ballots than the number of registered voters were cast, local police chief Mahbubur Rahman said.
“The actual votes cast were only 80 percent of the total votes,” Rahman told AFP, adding that Mollah was accused of “providing false information in an effort to make the election look questionable.”
If convicted Mollah could face up to 14 years in jail under a draconian anti-press law that was toughed by Hasina last year.
The police chief said another journalist was wanted for questioning after a local government administrator filed a case against the two under the the controversial law.
Hasina, 71, is accused of creeping authoritarianism, including muzzling the media and jailing prominent journalists such as Shahidul Alam, an award winning photographer, who spent four months in prison recently.
Hasina won 98 percent of seats in Sunday’s election which opposition politicians claim was rigged by the ruling Awami League to deliver her a record fourth term as Bangladesh’s leader.
Thousands of opposition activists were arrested during the campaign while voters reported intimidation at polling stations on election day which was overshadowed by the deaths of at least 17 people in clashes between rival supporters.
On Tuesday, the European Union urged authorities in Bangladesh to probe violence and obstacles to voting that the EU said had “tainted” the election.
The United States also expressed concern about “credible reports of harassment, intimidation and violence.”
A State Department statement urged the country’s Election Commission to “work constructively with all sides to address claims of irregularities.”
Opposition parties won only six seats and have demanded a new election under a neutral caretaker government.
Hasina has denied allegations of vote-rigging and rejected calls for an election re-run.


Asian Cup Media Committee hits out at BeIN Sports presenter over political comments

Updated 17 January 2019
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Asian Cup Media Committee hits out at BeIN Sports presenter over political comments

  • BeIN Sports presenter denounced for talking about politics during the Iran-Iraq clash.
  • Asian Cup Media Committee call on AFC to take appropriate action to separate politics from sports.

LONDON: The Asian Cup Media Committee has denounced the behavior of a beIN Sports presenter during Wednesday’s Group D clash between Iraq and Iran for bringing politics into sports while also commenting on Thursday’s Saudi Arabia-Qatar encounter.
Mentioning politics while broadcasting is against FIFA’s laws and regulations as well as the governing principles of the International Olympic Committee that prohibit misuse of sports for political purposes, the committee said.
The Committee disputed the presenter’s claims on the alleged absence of Qatari fans during the championship, citing the Qatari media delegation’s statements to AFP that the Qatari official delegation did not encounter any problems or obstacles during the championship.
In addition to that the committee also cited the Asian Football Confederation’s statements that showed up the Qatari channel presenter’s allegations of on the absence of Qatari fans as false.
The Committee affirmed that all efforts were being made during the championship to ensure the smooth attendance of fans supporting their national teams at the tournament taking place across the UAE.
The Committee called on the AFC to take appropriate action to separate politics from sports, affirming that it reserved the right to take all necessary legal action in collaboration with authorities concerned against the channel and its presenter.