The High Court on Wednesday directed the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) to remove the Al Jazeera report titled "All the Prime Minister's Men" from all the digital platforms.
A division bench comprising Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah passed the order following a writ petition filed by Advocate Md Anamul Kabir Emon.Advocate Emon filed the writ on February 9, seeking a judicial order to remove the contents of the Al Jazeera report from all the social media, including Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
On February 10, the HC appointed six senior lawyers as amici curiae to assist the court in determining whether it should hear the writ petition.
Six amici curiae are former attorney general AJ Mohammad Ali, former attorney general Fida M Kamal, constitutional expert Dr Shahdeen Malik, advocate Abdul Matin Khasru, advocate Kamal Ul Alam and advocate Prabir Neogi.
Except Abdul Matin Khasru, the five amici curiae opined that the petitioner is no way upset at the Al Jazzera report released on February 1 as the subject matter has nothing to do with him.
Senior lawyer Abdul Matin Khasru argued that the Al Jazeera report maligned the Prime Minister and the Army Chief and it posed a serious threat to the sovereignty of Bangladesh. Anybody can be upset at the report, he said.
Appearing for the state, Attorney General A M Amin Uddin pleaded that Al Jazeera tried to label Bangladesh as a mafia state through its derogatory and fabricated report.Heart of every citizen of Bangladesh is bleeding following the report, he said adding the HC should pass an appropriate order to remove the contents on the basis of the writ petition.
Talking to the Daily Sun, BTRC Vice-Chairman Subrata Roy Maitra said they earlier requested the YouTube authorities to remove the Al Jazeera report from the social media platform.
YouTube refused to remove the contents of the report on the plea that the report is not contradictory to YouTube Community Guideline, he added.
The BTRC vice-chairman, however, said they will again contact the YouTube authorities and inform them of the HC order.