Saturday, March 24, 2012

26 Feb 2012: Jonokhonto contempt order

The hearing started with the tribunal dealing with the contempt application relating to an article in Daily Janakantha. by Bikash Dutta. The application was made on 23 February

The chairman asked whether the journalist was present in the court, and Mr. Bikash confirmed his presence.

Justice Nizamul Huq said ‘I’m requesting the reporters to be very careful. You’re dealing with a tribunal of a very sensitive nature, so you should be very cautious. We’ve said it at the previous day that we’ve thickened our skin. What’s going on it’s not clear. We’re telling one thing and you’re publishing another thing. Please Journalists, be careful about the Tribunal. I would be pleased if it is the last incident of this kind. To err is human. As you’re not taking the certified copy, so there would be some mistakes. But you’ve to keep it in your mind that- reporting must be correct as much as possible. We do read a lot of papers; it makes us feel bad to read that wrong news.’

Justice AKM Zaheer added, ‘You should be much more careful, so that no one will get any wrong signals. Prosecution, defence, tribunal, accused, the rights of everyone should be ensured by publishing proper news.’

The chairman then read out the following order:
‘This is an application filed on behalf of Allama Delwar Hossain Sayeedi prayng for drawing up contempt proceeding under section 11(4) of the Intemational Crimes (ftibunals) Act,1973 against 2(two) persons namely Mr. Mohammad Atiqullah Khan Masud, Editor, Publisher and Printer of the daily Jonokhonto, and Mr. Bikash Datta, staff Reporter covering news on ICT for the Daily Janakantha.

Mr. Tajul Islam, the learned counsel for the applicant submits that 2(two) reports have been annexed with this petition which clearly specifies wrong reporting against the proceeding of the Tdbunal in respect of the applicant which is nothing but contemptuous and action undet section 11(4) of the International Crimes Tribunal Act, 1973 ought to be taken against them. We have perused the application. On our query on 23d February as to whether the Opposite Parry No.2 Mt. Bikash Datta is present in Tribunal, we found him absent and we fixed today for hearing as we wanted that the matter be heard in his presence. To day we find Mr. Bikash Datta present in the Tribunal.

We have gone through the application. Regarding the first report, we remember that we have already in presence of persons in the Tribunal, told that this reporting is contemptuous and we requested every body to be careful in reporting the proceeding of this Tribunal. The second report has been annexed which is a report regarding the statement of the witnesses in the Tribunal. Without going into this matter we are of the view that this type of report is unwarranted for fair trial. In open court we request all the journalist present including the Opposite Party No.2 to restrain themselves from wrong reportings. This Tribunal is dealing with serious type of cases and the whole world are looking to this Tribunal and its proceedings. We request the journalists class to be careful as we found frequent wrong reportings from all sides. We are reluctant to take action against journalists and as such we caution the Opposite Party No.2 to be more careful in future and request all the journalists so that report regarding the Tribunal remains truthful. We told them that we are to protect the interest of the Tribunal, the prosecutor, the defence, the prosecution and also the accused. We are to look after all. We believe that the journalist as a class will be helpfrul to us in achieving our goal. Mr. Bikash Datta. the opposite Party No.02 is asked to give a reioinder within two days in the news paper Janakantha regarding the wrong reporting and also asked to be careful in future. The application is thus disposed of.'
Following this, the tribunal then began again to hear the application of Salaussin Quader Chowdhury for dismissal of the formal charge against him. This is dealt with in a separate post.

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