IFJ Protests Against Attacks on Media Workers in Bangladesh

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has protested to the Government of Bangladesh over a bomb attack on five journalists in Feni in south-eastern Bangladesh on November 10, and the case of a photojournalist who was charged and then denied bail for ten days.


The IFJ has protested to the Government of Bangladesh in the following letter:


14 November 2003


The Hon Begum Khaleda Zia

Prime Minister

Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh


VIA FACSIMILE: 0015 880 2 881 0407


Dear Prime Minister,


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation of journalists representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is deeply concerned over the recent attack on five journalists in Feni, on 10 November.


The five journalists attacked were Munna; Osman Harun Mahmud Dulal, a correspondent for the daily Janakantha; Shahjalal Ratan, a reporter for the daily Jugantor; Muhammed Jalal Uddin, a reporter for the daily Manabzamin; and Asaduzzaman Dara, a correspondent for the daily Bhorer Kagoj.


According to our information, the five journalists were standing on the street talking on the evening of 10 November when the assailants threw a homemade bomb at them and fled the scene. None of the journalists were injured, but the explosion created a panic among local residents.


According to the information, local police suspect that the assailants targeted one of the journalists, Bakhtiar Islam Munna, the local Feni correspondent for the daily Ittefaq and for the wire service United News of Bangladesh (UNB), because he is scheduled to testify in an assault case involving journalist Tipu Sultan who was brutally attacked three years ago, in which a local politician is being charged.


On the same day as the attack in Feni, photojournalist Selim Jahangir, a photojournalist for the national Bengali daily Janakantha, was released from jail. Jahangir was denied bail for ten days at the Rajshahi Central Jail in the country’s north-west.


The IFJ is requesting that the Government of Bangladesh launch a full investigation into these two cases: to ensure those responsible in the Feni case are bought to justice and to investigate why the journalist was charged and held without bail in the Jahangir case.


The IFJ reminds the Government of Bangladesh that a free and independent media is vital to ensure democracy. To ensure an independent media, journalists must be allowed to work free of fear from harassment and violence.


The IFJ reminds the Government of Bangladesh that violence is the worse form of censorship and that journalists must be free to work from fear of violence or reprisal.


Yours sincerely



Christopher Warren

President, IFJ



Recommended Action:


Send appeals to the Government of Bangladesh:


  • Condemning the attack on the journalists and the detaining of Selim Jahangir

  • Urging the Government of Bangladesh to launch a full investigation into the attack and the arrest

  • Ensure press freedom and safety in Bangladesh


    Appeals:


    The Hon Begum Khaleda Zia

    Prime Minister

    Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

    VIA FACSIMILE: 0015 880 2 881 0407