The International Crimes Tribunal-2 yesterday asked the media to refrain from publishing or airing articles and commentaries over sub judice matters.
The three-member tribunal led by Justice Obaidul Hassan gave the verbal order as its attention was drawn to several commentaries and articles on the contempt of court proceedings against David Bergman, a Dhaka-based British journalist, were published in different newspapers.
Bergman, the editor (special reports) of English daily the New Age, faces trial for allegedly demeaning the tribunal's dignity through his write-ups posted in his personal blog.
“It is very unfortunate that several newspapers have published articles over the sub judice matter,” Justice Hassan said, referring to some articles published in The Daily Star, the Dhaka Tribune and the Dainik Janakantha.
'They [media] should not publish articles over any sub judice matter ... We think the authorities of The Daily Star, Dhaka Tribune, Janakantha and other media will realise the importance of the matter and will refrain from publishing articles over any sub judice matter,” he added.
Meanwhile, the tribunal gave one more month to Bergman to explain why he should not be punished under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act-1973 for making “derogatory comments” about the tribunal.
The court on April 17 initiated the proceedings of the contempt charge and asked for his explanation within 15 days.
Yesterday was fixed for further orders on this but Bergman's lawyer Mustafizur Rahman Khan sought eight weeks' adjournment, claiming that he couldn't consult with his client for personal difficulties.
Mizan Syeed, lawyer for petitioner Abul Kalam Azad, opposed the prayer but the tribunal adjourned the proceedings till June 15.
Azad, a Supreme Court lawyer, filed the contempt petition on February 18, alleging that Bergman in his three articles posted in his personal blog between 2011 and 2013 had “questioned” the number of martyrs in the Liberation War and had “belittled” the authority of the court as the figure was mentioned in its orders and verdicts.
Though Bergman defended his write-up as “fair criticism”, the court said it was not convinced with his explanation and has found “prima facie elements of contempt” in his write-ups.
Bergman was present at the courtroom during the proceedings yesterday.