Journalist Rozina Islam has recently published a number of investigative reports on irregularities and corruption of the health sector, including a report of corruption in recruitment titled, "Take Tk 1 million now, will pay more later." Such reports not only unearthed grafts but also benefitted the country and the people. The corrupt officials at the health ministry were angered by the reports.
The way the secretariat officials assaulted Rozina Islam by confining her in an office room for a long time is unprecedented. It is unthinkable that a journalist in a civilized country can be treated in this way. What has happened with Rozina Islam is clearly out of vengeance and they have done so because her reports have damaged the interests of the corrupt officials of the health ministry.
There is no reason to consider this blow only on Rozina Islam or Prothom Alo. The blow is also on the independent journalism. So we have seen that the entire journalist community including the National Press Club, journalists' unions and Dhaka Reporters Unity has taken a firm stand in favour of Rozina. His colleagues have been protesting from the very beginning. Journalists not only in Dhaka but also all over the country became united to demand Rozina's release and withdrawal of the case.
People from different classes and professions including the civil society have come forward in this movement of journalists. Journalists and various international media organisations, human rights organisations and the United Nations have also expressed concerns and condemned the incident. As this support and cooperation from all quarters has given us courage, we think it will be an example in the struggle for the freedom of the media in Bangladesh as a whole.
Rozina Islam has been granted bail, it is definitely positive. But not only bail, we demand, this case should be withdrawn. At the same time, all laws that restrict the voice of journalists, including the Digital Security Act, which is considered a sword against the freedom of the press, must be repealed. At the same time, in the interest of justice, a legal action should be taken against those who tortured Rozina. We strongly condemn the propaganda carried out by the health ministry in the name of Rozina Islam to cover up their crimes and demand an immediate end to it.