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Bangladesh Police Detain Three Journalists

by AFP
File Photo. Asif Hassan—AFP

File Photo. Asif Hassan—AFP

Security forces raid office of news website after it published report on rumors that prime minister’s son had died.

Bangladesh police have raided the office of a news website and detained three journalists over a report on rumors the prime minister’s son had died, an official said Monday, days after the country blocked dozens of news sites.

Police conducted a five-hour search of the popular news portal banglamail24.com’s Dhaka office on Sunday evening, hours after the story appeared, and detained the executive editor and two other journalists. The portal reported rumors published on a Facebook page that Sajeeb Wazed Joy had died in a plane crash, but it made clear that they were false.

“We have picked them up for questioning about the news they have published,” said Mufti Mahmud Khan, spokesman for the elite Rapid Action Battalion, which carried out the raid on the office. “After the questioning ends, we will be able to tell you more about it.”

Phones at the banglamail24 office went unanswered on Monday morning and the website had not been updated.

The raid came days after the government sparked accusations of censorship when it shut down 32 online news services, citing “objectionable contents.”

The government has also banned live television coverage of Islamist extremist attacks in the wake of last month’s deadly assault on a café in which 22 people were killed, including 18 foreigners.

Prime Minister Hasina publicly criticized the coverage of the attack and told private broadcasters to be more responsible.

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