The stories, published by the daily Bangladesh newspaper Kaler Kantho, claimed that the editor of Bangladesh newspaper Prothom Alo, Matiur Rahman, was “involved” in a 2004 grenade assassination attempt against Bangladesh’s prime minister.
According to a Daily Star report at the time, 16 people were killed and 200 people were injured in the attack.
The council said that Kaler Kantho violated journalism ethics and warned the Kaler Kantho “after hearing lengthy deliberations of lawyers on both sides” against publishing stories without “proper evidence.” In the case of linking the editor with the grenade attack, the council “found no evidence” to back the claims.
“The council thinks that the information provided by daily Kaler Kantho about Matiur Rahman does not have any basis,” the council stated. The council went on to call the newspaper’s article to be “humiliating.”
Rahman filed a complaint with the council last October about the stories, but Kaler Kantho stood by its claims, which were sourced to a statement made by a jailed political figure to “intelligence agencies.” However, the council reviewed that document as provided by Kaler Kantho and dismissed it since it had no “seal of any court” and could be easily forged.
Bangladesh Press Council’s code of conduct, which was amended in 2002, advises journalists to be truthful, accurate, respectful.
“Unconfirmed reports or reports based on rumours shall be verified before publication and if found unreasonable on verification, be withheld from publication,” the code states.
The press council has 14 members and a chairman, who is a former or current Supreme Court judge nominated by Bangladesh’s president.
iMediaEthics is writing to the press council for comment and will update with any response.