Conspiratorial allegations of copyright infringement against the Hill Voice continue

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Hill Voice, 8 February 2021, Special Correspondent:

A vested-interest group has been making false, fabricated and conspiratorial allegations of copyright infringement against the Hill Voice in an attempt to block its publication and campaign. In particular, when the news of human rights violations by the military was published on the Hill Voice, they, using various names and addresses, lodge allegation of copyright infringement against the Hill Voice claiming that the news was their own news and that the news was published on the Hill Voice without their permission.

According to the Hill Voice Executive Editor Priti Bindu Chakma, the army and military intelligence agency (DGFI) may be directly involved in filing such copyright infringement allegations. This is because such allegations are made selectively, mainly on the reports of human rights violations by the military.

It is to be mentioned that the Hill Voice has been charged under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998 under a copyright law of United States. According to this law, in order to get relief from the allegation, the accused person / news portal usually has to remove the relevant news from his news portal or file a counter-copyright infringement notice along with supporting information and evidence against the complainant immediately. Otherwise, the alleged website was shut down by the Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Recent two such allegations against the Hill Voice are particularly noteworthy. One is Yash Khan, from 76 Park Avenue in Portsmouth of United Kingdom, who filed a copyright infringement complaint against the Hill Voice on January 23, 2021, in a report published by the Hill Voice entitled “An army camp set up occupying land of a Jumma villager at Burighat in Nanyachar.”

Although the incident of setting up the camp was taken place on January 20, 2021, forcibly taking rent of7 acres of land belonging to Jyotilal Chakma of Namehong village in Nanyachar for Tk. 7,000 per annum, Yash Khan claimed that it was his own news and he published the news on January 20, 2020. His claim to have published the news a year ago before taking place the incident was ridiculous.

Yash Khan has threatened to go to the UK High Court if necessary. He claimed that he had an order from the UK High Court in this regard. Accepting the challenge, the Hill Voice replied that the Hill Voice has also agreed to go to the UK High Court and will be waiting to attend the court hearing. A copy of the UK High Court order was also sought from Yash Khan. Then Yash Khan did not answer and went completely silent. As a result, Yash Khan’s allegations of copyright infringement against the Hill Voice were dismissed.

Another allegation was the Hill Voice news about the seven-month human rights situation of minorities published by Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Oikya Parishad (BHBCOP). According to a press release issued by BHBCOP, on October 6, 2020, Hill Voice published a news item titled “17 minorities killed and 65 women abused in 7 months: Oikya Parishad” where the logo of the BHBCOP with the dove of peace in the red circle was also published as symbol of the organisation.

A person named Monir Ahmed mentioning his address at Chittagong Road of Jatrabari in Dhaka claimed that the logo was his own artwork for the BHBCOP and alleged that the Hill Voice used the logo without his permission. He therefore filed a copyright infringement complaint against the Hill Voice under the DMCA.

In fact, Monir Ahmed’s allegations were baseless and ridiculous. This is because the BHBCOP issued a press release on its own pad on October 6, 2020, stating the situation of communal terrorism during the Coronavirus pandemic and demanding enactment of the Minority Protection Act. The letterhead had the logo of the peace dove in the red circle of the BHBCOP.

It was ridiculous to claim an organization’s logo as one’s own. Whether he or anybody draws the logo, if he/she gives it to any organization after drawing, it is absurd and unreasonable to claim one’s own on that artwork or to file a copyright infringement complaint, if it is published in any news portal as a symbol of that organization.

It is worth mentioning that before this, another news portal called netranews.info was opened in the name of Tasnim Khalil, almost same name as the editor-in-chief of netra.news, Tasneem Khalil, with the address of 52 New Market of Mongibai Road of Mumbai of Maharashtra in India, he has been making one after another complaints alleging copyright infringement against the Hill Voice, claiming every news on human rights violations by the military as his own news. He uses different addresses like another one from Pakistan: Muhammad Shah Rd., Behind Eye Hospotal, Khi, Sindh, 1207, Pakistan. It is needless to say, every allegation of Tasnim Khalil was dismissed as the allegation was proved to be false, fabricated and conspiratorial, subject to the submission of proper information and evidence by the Hill Voice.

Executive Editor of the Hill Voice, Priti Bindu Chakma, is of the opinion that the army and the DGFI may have involved with such harassment and conspiracy allegations using the same logo and the same name of the person (Tasneem Khalil) of Netro.news.

On November 21, 2020, the Hill Voice sent an e-mail to Tasneem Khalil seeking his help in resolving such allegations of harassment and conspiracy against the Hill Voice. Surprisingly, Tasneem Khalil did not reply to the mail.

An email was even sent to Bina D’Costa, Secretary of the Organizing Board of Netra.news, on December 27, 2020. Regrettably, Bina D’Costa also did not respond to the mail. As a result, many doubts have been raised about this.

The Hill Voice is human rights based an authentic news portal on Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), Indigenous Peoples, Women, Minorities, Environment and Biodiversity. The Hill Voice has been publishing authentic news and investigative reports especially on the ongoing human rights violations by the security forces in the CHT including news related to indigenous peoples, minorities, women and the environment.

In this context, the army and the military intelligence agency have been conspiring to block the Hill Voice, alleging copyright infringement. As part of that conspiracy, the Hill Voice was blocked in Bangladesh in April last year.

On the one hand, propaganda is being spread against the indigenous Jumma peoples and the CHT through the hired yellow journalists, on the other hand, the CHT has been turned into a blockaded area by imposing restrictions on freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association. As a result, the news of oppression and torture by the military and paramilitary forces remained completely hidden from the media and the people of the country.

As a result of the publication and campaign of authentic news and investigative report by the Hill Voice, incidents of human rights violations by the security forces in the CHT are being exposed. As a result, a conspiracy is being hatched to stop the publication and campaign work of the Hill Voice by making such fabricated, false and conspiratorial allegations against the Hill Voice.

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