The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Bangladesh Manobodhikar Sambadik Forum (BMSF) condemn the assault of eight journalists during a football match in Dhaka on Monday night, July 14.
According to reports, the journalists were allegedly assaulted by a group of the Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) activists of Dhaka University during a football match at the campus.
The journalists allegedly approached the students about joining in a game to which the students replied that they were leaving the ground in 10 minutes. The BCL students, belonging to Surya Sen Hall, left the ground but returned a short time later, armed with machetes and iron rods and began attacking the journalists, according to one of the injured journalists.
Masudur Rahman of Somoy Television and Galib Ashraf, a former University correspondent of Daily Independent – were taken to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. They are now in a stable condition. The other assault victims are Reza Akash of Manab Kantha, Monirul Islam of Jamuna TV, Arafat Sarkar of Asian Television, Rafiqul Islam of Kaler Kantha, Mahmud Hasan, former Dhaka University correspondent of Banglanews24.com and Jahid Hasan, former Dhaka University correspondent of thereporter.com. They were treated separately at the Dhaka University’s Medical Centre.
While BCL, a political pro-Awami National Party student body, expelled 12 students from the league and suspended all activities of the Surya Sen Hall, the university has also suspended 10 students out of which three students were handed to the police. This case is still under investigation and there have been no further reports.
The IFJ said: “This is unfortunate incident and the growing threats to journalists in Bangladesh, especially by the students, is alarming.”
Last month, the general secretary of BCL at Rajshahi University allegedly threatened Amzad Hossain Shimul, a staff reporter at the Daily Amader Shomoy for not recognizing him on the phone.
The IFJ said: “We urge political parties to ensure that journalists and press freedom rights are observed and respected. We urge the government to ensure that all necessary security measures are implemented to bring an end to these violent acts against journalists. And we expect that the authorities will fully investigate this incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.”