Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Barrister Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh has sent a legal notice to The Daily Star, seeking Tk 100 crore, for publishing a “defamatory” article about cutting down trees in the Dhanmondi area of the capital.
The mayor’s lawyer Barrister Mejbahur Rahman briefed reporters on Wednesday (June 7, 2023).
The legal notice was sent to The Daily Star Editor and Publisher Mahfuz Anam, Executive Editor Syed Ashfaqul Haque, and writer Naziba Basher on June 5.
They have been asked to remove the relevant content online within 24 hours of receiving the notice and take necessary action within seven days.
Lawyer Mejbahur Rahman said that a “column” titled “Cutting trees to make way for air” was published in The Daily Star newspaper on May 13.
“In the column, the name of Dhaka South City Corporation was distorted to make Dhoka South Town Corporation,” he said while speaking to reporters at the Supreme Court premises.
Besides, the name of Mayor Taposh has also been distorted, he said.
Lawyer Mejbahur Rahman said the DSCC Mayor has directed him to take legal action after seeing the report.
“In the notice, we asked for two things – one is to remove the text in the online version and they must apologise unconditionally and will have to pay Tk 100 crore as compensation,” he said. “Seven days have been given to them. If they do not take any action by this time, the next decision will be taken at the behest of Mayor Taposh.”
In the legal notice, The Daily Star was asked to pay the money within seven days of the date of receipt of the legal notice served “for creating and publishing defamatory imputation in your national daily, in online publication and on social media and network with criminal intention to insult, humiliate and persecute our client, thus intentionally harming hard earned reputation of my client, his family and his institution.”
In a statement, published on The Daily Star’s website, the editor and publisher wrote: “We want to state that we have indeed received the said legal notice dated June 5, 2023, from the Lex Counsel late in the afternoon of June 6, 2023, and it allows us only 2 days to respond. We will publish our response within that time.”
“We, however, want to point out that our piece was termed a ‘report’ or a ‘column’ at the press briefing. This is factually incorrect. It was a satirical piece, which is a globally accepted and common practice in journalism, on an issue of urgent public concern, and that too was published in our designated weekly satirical page titled ‘Satireday,’' the statement added.