In a statement released on its website, the IFJ urged the authorities to drop the charges against them under the controversial Digital Security Act.
Mominul Islam Bhashani, president of Baliadangi Upazila Swechchhasebak League, subsequently started a case against Khalidi, Jago News Acting Editor Mohiuddin Sarker and two local correspondents - Shawon Amin and Rahim Shuvo on April 18.
The editors are accused of publishing “baseless news” regarding the involvement of Mominul and his brother in a rice relief theft scam.
Mominul claimed that the news tarnished his image and that of his party -- the Awami League. Shawon and Shuvo were sued as they uploaded Facebook posts referring to Mominul as ‘rice thief’.
“Incidents of media rights violation have steadily increased in Bangladesh. The current case filed against two editors and two reporters under controversial Digital Security Act is a blatant attempt to block the media from reporting on the scam," the IFJ said.
"In the interests of public interest journalism, the IFJ calls on the authorities to immediately throw out the case.”