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Managing editor of Prothom Alo Sajjad Sharif said Rozina Islam has been involved in journalism for long. She has gained fame at home and abroad and won many awards for journalism. Investigative journalism is the main strength of her journalism. She has unearthed all sorts of corruption and the government had taken corrective measures based on her reports.

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Sajjad Sharif said the public health sector has become very important because of coronavirus pandemic. Rozina Islam reported on various irregularities, corruption and mismanagement in health sector. She has become victim of vengeance of the people who had been angry about these reports. She had been kept confined to the secretariat without any reason.

The issue pertaining to Rozina Islam will be faced legally, said Sajjad Sharif. He said, “We have confidence in the court that we will get justice. Rozina Islam went to the secretariat to carry out professional duties as a journalist. She didn’t to go (there) to do any crime. People, journalism and country have been benefited by her journalism.”

As to whether the case filed against Rozina Islam goes against the independent journalism, Sajjad Sharif said, “The constitution of the country gives freedom of speech. Especially, freedom has been ensured for the media. Various laws including Digital Security Act have been enacted later and clearly contradict freedom of speech and democracy, which has been achieved through blood. All this has curbed practice of independent journalism.”

Associate editor of Prothom Alo Anisul Hoque demanded withdrawal of the case filed against Rozina Islam and her release unconditionally. He said, “It can happen outside the legal process. It can be a political decision too. If the appeal for remand was not filed today, we might have got bail for Rozina. I, as a citizen, believe it’s a false case against Rozina. We want unconditional release of Rozina Islam, withdrawal of the case filed against her as well as investigation into her harassers and punishment to those who are responsible.”

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Anisul Haque observed that the harassers of Rozina Islam have tarnished the image of the country across the world. He said, “Those who have harassed Rozina and confined her didn’t do a good for the government. They didn’t brighten the image of Bangladesh. The image of Bangladesh is being tarnished across the world. The world has seen that Bangladesh is a country where journalists are repressed and freedom of the press is curtailed. We want freedom for journalists and freedom of expression. Freedom of press is necessary for the state, the government and good governance,”

Anisul Hoque said, “Entire Bangladesh is demanding the release of Rozina Islam. The government should understand the people’s will. We want the intervention from the highest level in the government to release Rozina Islam.”

Various journalists from other media outlets also joined the human chain.

President of Dhaka Reporters Unity Mursalin Nomani told the human chain, “A drama has been orchestrated to stop the investigative journalism of Rozina Islam.” He demanded investigation into whether this incident is a malicious attempt to out the government and journalists in confrontation.

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