The Dainik Dinkal has been Shut Down

The Bangla-language daily broadsheet, the Dainik Dinkal, was forced to cease publishing on 19 February 2023. The current authoritarian regime of Bangladesh revoked the daily’s printing permit. The Dainik Dinkal was well known as the mouthpiece of the opposition and pro-democracy movement in Bangladesh.

A voice of the BNP since its founding 40 years ago, the Dainik Dinkal published articles critical of the current government, including a report on the recent police raid on opposition activists that alarmed international rights organisations. The authorities had ordered the publication to cease on December 26 of last year, but the daily persisted after making an appeal to the Press Council, which is presided over by a senior high court judge.

On February 19, the BNP released a statement denouncing the muzzle of free media. Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, the party’s general secretary said, “Just because of political vendetta, the Deputy Commissioner cancelled the newspaper’s declaration following government’s orders, and the Bangladesh Press Council also rejected the newspaper’s appeal. This is a major assault on the right to free speech.”

A coalition of nine embassies in Bangladesh over media freedom expressed concern over the cancellation of the declaration of Dainik Dinkal on February 24, 2022. The statement issued by the Media Freedom Coalition read: “We, the undersigned members of the Media Freedom Coalition in Bangladesh, express our concern about the Government of Bangladesh’s recent decision to cancel the declaration (authorization to publish) of the Dainik Dinkal.  A free press and free speech play a key role in a transparent democracy.” The coalition comprises the diplomatic missions of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

This assault on free speech and media freedom has not been a new phenomenon for the current authoritarian Awami League regime. The shutting down of Dainik Dinkal is one of the many incidents of government-sponsored suppression of critical voices.