Bangladesh’s shutting down of top opposition newspaper triggers concern

Bangladesh authorities forced to stop publication of the country’s main opposition newspaper on February 19 after a judge upheld a government order to shut it down. The move comes as journalists in the South Asian country face ever-growing pressure.”The council rejected our appeal, upholding the district magistrate’s order to stop our publication,” Shamsur Rahman Shimul Biswas, managing editor of the Dainik Dinkal newspaper, told French news agency AFP. The move triggered rights groups to protest it as the UN spokesperson expressed his concern after the closure.The order accused the Bengali-language broadsheet of violating printing and publication laws. The Dainik Dinkal has long been an important voice for the center-right BNP party. It covers stories that most mainstream newspapers, many of which are controlled by pro-government businessmen, often ignore. This includes what the BNP says are false arrests of its members and intimidation tactics from the government.It also employs hundreds of journalists and other workers, most of whom took to the streets of the capital Dhaka to protest the government and its shutdown order. Observers and foreign powers like the United States have warned that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was in the midst of a media crackdown, a sign of increasingly authoritarian rule in Bangladesh. In January, the government demanded some 191 news websites cease publication due to them publishing “anti-state news.”