An overreaction | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 04, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, January 04, 2019

Editorial

An overreaction

Release the journalist

A journalist was arrested and another one sued under the much-criticised law, Digital Security Act, in Khulna for their reports based on information collected from official source. This stands in stark contrast to the repeated promise by the government that journalists wouldn't be targeted by the law.

During election, particularly on the day of voting, there is a clutter of information and a volume of statistics every moment, and it's not unusual that errors may occur while handling the information. Errors are corrected as soon as they are detected. Journalists, too, make errors that are inadvertent. In this particular case, the error occurred at source, meaning the election officials. Why is it so that the journalists were automatically held responsible for what happened and the matter treated as a crime?

The error in question is a minor one that could easily be corrected or even retracted. Therefore, that the government officials have resorted to a draconian law to punish two journalists for an allegedly erroneous report whose source were the electoral officers is disturbing.  The heavy-handed and overreaction betrays a complete lack of understanding as to how journalism works. The actions, moreover, seemed to be more about infusing fear rather than meting out justice.  We resent the way the journalist was treated as if he was a dangerous criminal. 

This particular situation has created more misgivings, in the minds of the media in particular. It puts the government in a negative light, which is unwarranted. We, therefore, urge the government to take measures to withdraw the case and look at the matter for what it really was: a simple act of error.

We are happy to know that the journalist was released on bail in the evening. However, he should not have been arrested in the first place.

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