The High Court has directed the government to take immediate action to stop the dissemination of pictures, names, addresses, educational institutions, workplaces, and other identification information of sexually abused women, living or deceased, through the media and social media.
Secretaries to information and home ministries, chairman of the Bangladesh Press Council and chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) have been directed to inform the High Court within 30 days about the steps taken to implement the order.
A High Court bench of Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice SM Moniruzzaman passed the order on 8 March. The four-page written order was published on Thursday.
Rules have been issued along with interim directions in the order. The rule seeks to know why the inaction of the defendants in banning the disclosure of identity of sexually abused women should not be declared illegal.
The secretaries of law, home, and information ministries along with other parties concerned have been asked to respond to the ruling.
The court passed the order in response to a writ petition filed by Barrister Mahfuzur Rahman Milon on behalf of the Justice Watch Foundation.
The writ petitioner himself was present at the hearing. Deputy Attorney General Samarendra Nath Biswas represented the state.
Earlier on 19 January, a writ petition was filed in the High Court seeking a ban on the publication of pictures and identity of rape victims, living or deceased.
Regarding the order, Barrister Mahfuzur Rahman Milon told reporters that although there is a law against publishing pictures of women who have been raped, it is not being complied with.
Pictures of rape victims are being published in various media platforms all the time, he said, adding a picture of an English medium student who died recently after being raped was published in most of the media outlets in the country which is playing a role in the victim's family members being socially degraded.
"The incident deeply saddened us which is why we filed the writ petition," Milon added.
Earlier, the High Court ruled against the publication of pictures and identifications of children who come in contact with the law.