Withdraw libel cases against journos
Bangladesh Health Reporters' Forum yesterday demanded withdrawal of defamation lawsuit against their colleagues for publishing reports on alleged mistreatment of a patient by a surgeon.
"This is very unfortunate. The reporters did their journalistic duties," said Rashed Rabbi, the forum's president, while addressing a human chain in front of Dhaka Reporters' Unity.
Following a cardiac arrest, Kanchan Kumar Dey, a 62-year-old patient filed a complaint with Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council on May 27 against Prof Dr Masum Siraj, head of cardiac surgery at Ibrahim Cardiac Hospital.
The patient claimed that his unsuccessful open-heart surgery on December 21, headed by the surgeon, led to his cardiac arrest about three months later.
Following the incident, seven media outlets published reports on the issue at various times.
However, denying the allegations, Prof Siraj and the hospital authorities sued five media outlets on June 26, demanding Tk 125 crore for the 'defamation'.
The media outlets are Dainik Ittefaq, The Daily Bhorer Kagoj, Nagorik Television, Ekushey Television, and Sarabangla.net.
After hearing the case on August 3, a Dhaka court issued show cause notices to the defendants, terming The Daily Star, Daily Observer, and BMDC as proforma defendants ( a defendant who typically has no direct responsibility for the harm alleged, but shares an interest with other defendants).
The event was also addressed by Nikhil Mankin, former general secretary of BHRF; Kaosar Azam, office secretary of DRU; and Mohiuddin Ahmed, former president of Reporters Against Corruption.