The Dhaka district authorities ordered the shutdown of Dainik Dinkal on December 26, but it continued to publish after making an appeal to the Press Council headed by a top High Court judge.
The council rejected the appeal on February 19, 2023 upholding the district magistrate's order to stop the newspaper’s publication.
The allegation that the government forced the newspaper to stop circulation is a blatant lie. The court, which functions freely in the country, took the decision based on the existing law and regulation of the country. The existing law does not permit any convicted criminal to operate as a publisher while staying abroad for years.
The paper's publisher, Tarique Rahman, the acting chief of BNP, is a convicted criminal and was living abroad without handing over his job to another person.
The country’s printing and publication law which was drafted in 1973 demands that a publisher must hand over his/her responsibility to someone else if he/she stays out of the country for more than six consecutive months. In case of Dainik Dinkal, there has been an exception to the law because the publisher of the newspaper has been out of the country since 2008. Moreover, the daily has shifted the location of its office and printing press without prior notice given to the concerned authority.
According to the law, no newspaper can do that without prior approval from the concerned authority. The newspaper violates articles 10, 11, 16, 20(1)(kha) of The Printing Presses and Publications (Declaration and Registration) Act-1973.
The newspaper authority has been given chances to make changes in accordance with the existing law but they showed no respect to the court. The newspaper has a very low circulation rate and that perhaps was the reason for the reluctance from its authority.
However, as the court has upheld the law, they have now made it an issue of press freedom.
It is to be noted that the observation from the court on February 19, 2023 has kept the opportunity open for the newspaper to come back to circulation after it gets the approval from the district magistrate upon maintaining the proper procedure.
Recently, the circulation of 9 Bengali Dailies and one English Daily published from Dhaka has been canceled due to their continuous closure.
A notification in this regard was issued on September 8 under the signature of the District Magistrate of Dhaka.
Purva Alo, Dainik Janoseba, Gana Awaaz, Dhaka Prakash, Jatir Kantha, Kisan, Ei Desh Ei Din, Somoyer Pata o Reporter and The Financial Daily, these nine newspaper’s declaration have been canceled by the District Magistrate.
However, there has been no hue and cry about the closure of these newspapers. In the case of Dainik Dinkal, the hue and cry is being sponsored by the publisher of the newspaper who has no respect for the rule of law.
The approval and closure of newspapers is a regular process that is regulated and monitored by the concerned authority and the authority never takes political affiliation of the newspaper into consideration.
The Press Council is bound by law to cancel the declaration of newspapers that do not respect the existing publication act of the country. The decision by the court to stop the circulation of Dainik Dinkal, therefore, was not politically motivated.
The court only did what it is supposed to do under the law. In the last decade, Bangladesh’s media has enjoyed the highest press freedom; there has been no crackdown on the dissident voices.
A huge number of newspapers, online news portals and TV channels are functioning in the country.
They have been approved as per the law and the government does not intervene in their job, there is no restriction on them in terms of publishing news.
The allegation that the country lacks press freedom is biased and Qatar-based Al Jazeera has taken a hypocritical stance in shaming the democratic country whenever there is an opportunity.
They have taken it as an agenda to bring the undemocratic forces to power in the peace-loving country.