The Sampadak Parishad (Editors' Council) has demanded the unconditional release of Prothom Alo Reporter Rozina Islam who was sent to jail in a case filed under a British-era law, the Official Secrets Act.
In a statement, the editors' platform also expressed grave concern, anger, and condemnation of the series of incidents and protested the 6-hour harassment that Rozina endured while discharging her professional duties at the Secretariat, her overnight confinement in the police station, and subsequent imprisonment.
Noting that Rozina was sued under the Official Secrets Act-1923, the Parishad said filing a lawsuit against a journalist under a colonial British-era law manifests a negative attitude and an evil mentality to silence the voice of newspaper.
"This is an attempt to curtail press freedom as well as a threat to the future of independent journalism and freedom of expression. In a democratic society, such despicable attempts threaten the existence of the press and challenge the profession," the editors observed.
Terming the incident as unprecedented, they said it will remain a black chapter in the history of journalism in Bangladesh.
"The incident of holding Rozina Islam hostage for nearly six hours in a room of the health ministry in the Secretariat and harassing her in various ways is not only tragic, but strict action must be taken against those involved. It will have to be determined through fair investigation, under which law the journalist was detained there. Action must be taken against the offenders," the editors said.