No arrest warrant for defamation
The Jatiya Sangsad yesterday passed a bill scrapping the provision of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) for directly issuing arrest warrant against journalists, writers and others for writing or saying anything defamatory.
The amendment to the CrPC, however, introduced a provision for issuing summons against them.
Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shafique Ahmed proposed passage of the bill, which was placed in parliament in January last year.
During the passage of the bill independent lawmaker Fazlul Azim said the British rulers made the provision to prevent journalists from attacking their colonial rule.
A number of BNP lawmakers also submitted notices to take part in the process for passage of the bill, but their notices were not raised due to their absence in the House.
In response to Azim, the law minister said the provision should have been amended much earlier since it was a repressive one. It had curtailed freedom of the press, he added.
The CrPC was introduced during the British era with a provision in it for issuing direct arrest warrant against anybody including journalists, writers and publishers of any books or newspapers if they wrote or said anything defamatory.
Media people have long been demanding scrapping of the provision, but all previous governments ignored their plea.