Filing cases against Mahfuz Anam not attack on media: Joy

United News of Bangladesh . Dhaka

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s ICT adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy has said the recent cases filed against editor and publisher of The Daily Star cannot be considered as attack on the media.
‘This is not an attack on the media. It is also not even criminal litigation. It is civil  litigation. This is what happens in all countries with a modern legal system. If you cause someone harm, the aggrieved party has every right to sue you for damages,’ he wrote on his official Facebook page.
Joy said if Mahfuz Anam is feeling harassed, perhaps he should find out ‘what spending 11 months in jail on false charges feels like’.
He mentioned that several of ‘civil society’ and newspaper editors are criticising the civil defamation lawsuits filed against Mahfuz Anam following his admission to running a ‘false smear campaign’ against his mother – prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
‘Our government has not filed a single case against him. The cases are all civil in nature, claiming damages and monetary compensation,’ Joy wrote.
He also questioned saying whether the media is immune from any liability whatsoever. ‘Mahfuz Anam admitted to running not just one, but a series of false stories against my mother, the daughter of Bangabandhu and at that time a former prime minister.’
As a consequence of his (Mahfuz Anam) actions his mother, at her age, had to spend 11 months in prison, Joy added.
‘After all that, he says, ‘Oops, my mistake!’ And we should all forget about it and move on? There should be no justice for my mother, my family and our party the Awami League? There should be no accountability?’
Joy said politicians have to abide by the law or go to jail, police have to abide by the law or go to jail, but there is no law against writing false stories.
The only recourse that politicians and famous personalities have is civil law by claiming damages, he added.
‘If nothing else, at least the pain of legal fees and time in court should make a journalist think twice before publishing something false and destroying a person’s good name. Yet, this group does not want to be held accountable even to this low bar. Instead they want to throw mud and call it an attack on the media.’

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