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HC bans media broadcast of statements by fugitives

Published : Thursday, 31 December, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Count : 514

The High Court (HC) on Wednesday asked print, electronic and  social media not to publish or broadcast conversations, statements and interviews of all fugitive convicts and under-trial accused, including Proshanta Kumar Halder, better known as PK Halder, until further order.
The court also asked the 71 TV authorities to submit the video clips featuring Proshanta Kumar Halder, a director of International Leasing and Financial Services Limited (ILFSL), whose live interview aired on the television channel in a talk-show on the night of December 28.
The channel has to submit the video clips to the court by January 10 through its registrar. Prashanta Kumar Halder was allegedly involved in embezzling
Tk 3,600 crore. He was the former managing director of NRB Global Bank and Reliance Finance Ltd.
The virtual HC bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Ahmed Sohel issued the order after hearing a petition filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan, praying to the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against the authorities of Ekattor TV for airing the interview of PK Halder and for connecting him as a guest to the live talk show.
In the TV programme, PK Halder made statements turning down the allegations against him of laundering a huge amount of money abroad. The HC also fixed January 10 for hearing on this issue.
During the hearing, ACC lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan said the media can't broadcast or publish interviews of a fugitive person and there is a standing directive issued earlier by the HC not to broadcast or publish interviews of the fugitive accused.
Khurshid also said that he was invited to join the 71 TV live talk-show online but he left the show immediately after knowing that PK Halder took part in the talk-show. The government had earlier requested the INTERPOL to arrest Halder and bring him back to the country to face trial on the embezzlement charge, the ACC lawyer said.
While hearing, the HC bench said the freedom of expression is guaranteed by the constitution of the republic but that freedom is subject to some reasonable restrictions.
On December 9, the same HC bench wanted to know what steps have been taken to arrest and bring PK Kumar Halder back to country. Halder fled the country after embezzling Tk 3,600 crore from some financial institutions.

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