Bangladesh court fines British journalist for blog post

David Bergman was found in contempt for writing three blog posts that challenged the official death toll during Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971.

Bangladesh court fines British journalist for blog post

World Bulletin/News Desk

A Bangladesh-based British journalist was found guilty of contempt of court Tuesday for blog posts that criticized a domestic war crimes tribunal.

David Bergman was found in contempt for writing three blog posts that challenged the official death toll during Bangladesh’s war of independence in 1971, which the tribunal was investigating.  

The tribunal gave the British journalist seven days to pay a 5,000 Taka ($64) fine.

After the verdict, the convicted journalist said the Bangladeshi press freedom was under threat.

"The judgment is likely to make it increasingly difficult for journalists and other writers in Bangladesh to comment critically on any judicial proceedings and judgments, even when those proceedings are completed," Bergman said in a statement posted on his blog, which he had been using to closely document the war crimes tribunal.

"This should be of great concern to those interested in freedom of speech and the proper scrutiny of state institutions in Bangladesh. The judiciary, like any other institutions in Bangladesh, does need its fair share of commentary and fair criticism,” he said.

He said the case against him was filed more than a year after he wrote the blog posts and by a third-party rather than the court itself. He added that the court did not find any factual inaccuracies in his posts.

The court has previously raised complaints about criticism of the trials from The Economist magazine and Human Rights Watch.

The International Crimes Tribunal was set up in 2009 in Bangladesh to investigate and prosecute suspects who allegedly committed crimes during the 1971 war of independence war with Pakistan.

 

Last Mod: 02 Aralık 2014, 23:30
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