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.


Arab News women driving cover wins further recognition in DNA Paris Design Awards

Updated 22 May 2019
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Arab News women driving cover wins further recognition in DNA Paris Design Awards

  • Arab News scooped the awards for its front page by “New Yorker” illustrator Malika Favre, which was published to mark the move to allow women in Saudi Arabia to drive
  • It has won numerous awards since its publication and been one of the most retweeted artworks celebrating women driving in the Kingdom

LONDON: Arab News has continued its success on the international awards stage by winning two honorable mentions at the DNA Paris Design Awards.

The newspaper scooped the awards for its front page by “New Yorker” illustrator Malika Favre, which was published to mark the move to allow women in Saudi Arabia to drive.

The honorable mentions were for the categories “Graphic design - Editorial” and “Graphic design - Key art (Posters, covers, illustration).”

"For Arab News to be recognised again on a global scale with this award is a great honor," Simon Khalil, global creative director at Arab News, said. “Our women drivers cover has been recognised with eight design awards so far and this highlights just how important this moment in history was for women across the Kingdom.

 “Malika Favre was the obvious choice for our cover, and her illustration brilliantly captures the significance of this moment on the day Saudi Arabia changed forever."

The illustration was commissioned by Arab News for the cover of a special souvenir edition on June 24 of last year. It has become one of the most retweeted artworks celebrating women driving in the Kingdom.

The cover has won numerous awards since it was published. In March, it was recognized by SND awards, one of the most prestigious in the industry.

In February, the cover image was recognized in the international design awards run by “HOW” magazine.

The DNA Paris Design Awards honors international architects and designers “who improve our daily lives through practical, beautiful and innovative design,” according to its website.