The Sampadak Parishad (Editors' Council) has expressed outrage over the harassment of Prothom Alo senior reporter Rozina Islam.
"We are deeply worried and outraged, and we strongly condemn and protest the incident of harassing Rozina Islam for six hours, handing her to police, confining her to a police station overnight, seeking remand of her by police, and sending her to jail instead of granting bail," the Parishad said in a statement yesterday.
It said Rozina was prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act of 1923. "Prosecuting a journalist in this era under a law formulated during the British rule is a manifestation of the negative attitude and ominous mentality of the authorities for muzzling the voice of the press."
This threatens independent journalism, and freedom of expression in the future, and also attempts to erode the independence of the press, the statement added.
"In a democratic society, deplorable attempts like this threatens the very existence of newspapers, and pose challenges for the profession," read the statement, signed by Sampadak Parishad President Mahfuz Anam and Secretary General Naem Nizam.
The platform of editors said this unprecedented incident would remain as a black episode in the history of Bangladesh's journalism.
"Detaining Rozina Islam for six hours to a room at the health ministry, and then harassing her in various ways is not just saddening, actions must be taken against those involved in the incident. An independent enquiry must be conducted to find out under which law a journalist was detained in this way. Actions have to be taken against those to be found guilty," said the statement.
The Parishad also demanded immediate release of Rozina.