The government will move to block Al Jazeera in Bangladesh if the High Court orders to do so, the information minister says.
“We believe in freedom of media. But steps will be taken against Al Jazeera if the High Court orders it. We must follow court orders,” Hasan Mahmud told reporters at his home in Chattogram.
The Doha-based broadcaster published a report titled “All the Prime Minister’s Men” on Feb 1. The foreign ministry and the Army Headquarters later issued statements protesting against the report.
A Supreme Court lawyer has petitioned the High Court to order a ban on Al Jazeera and removal of the report from YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
The High Court has sought the opinions of legal experts to determine the acceptability of the petition.
Mahmud, a joint general secretary of the ruling Awami League, said, “We could have blocked Al Jazeera in our country a long time ago if we wanted to. Many countries have done it. It was blocked for some days even in India. As of now, Al Jazeera is blocked in six to seven countries.
“But we didn’t do it because the government of Sheikh Hasina believes in freedom of media.”
“Freedom is necessary, so is responsibility. Freedom doesn’t mean publishing wrong, false, biased and politically motivated news that limits the freedom of others. It’s not right in anyway,” he said.
The minister said Al Jazeera made the report “by mixing up false and imaginary information out of personal anger”.
Mahmud also slated the BNP leaders who are taking the coronavirus vaccine after “spreading disinformation” about the shot.
They cannot do anything without muddying the water, he said.
The minister said BNP founder Ziaur Rahman’s role in the Liberation War is questioned because many believe Zia actually worked for the Pakistan Army.
Still, Mahmud added, the Jatiya Muktijoddha Council or JAMUKA discussed the option to strip the late military ruler and wartime sector commander Zia of the gallantry title of ‘Bir Uttam’, after revoking his Swadhinata Padak or Independence Award.
“Nothing is final yet,” he said.