The International Federation of Journalists today expressed its deep concern over repeated attacks on the press in Bangladesh by both the ruling coalition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and militant organisations.
“The current situation in Bangladesh is outrageous. Journalists are being threatened by the BNP and by militants alike just for reporting the truth,” said IFJ president Christopher Warren.
“Murderers are not held on remand, so the culture of impunity remains and justice is denied to journalists who are attacked or killed,” said Warren.
BNP sets fire to Dainik Jugantor
On October 18, BNP leaders held a protest rally and set fire to the Dainik Jugantor in Ullahpara, Shirajganj.
The incident occurred after the Dainik Jugantor published a report titled “Bangla Bhai - the chief of Islami Militants stays in a BNP leaders house”.
BNP leaders accused the paper of publishing false information without searching for the truth, and denounced the report as yellow journalism.
No complaint has been filed with police.
BNP threatens to blow up press club
On October 18, Golam Rasul Yousuf, the public relations secretary of BNP threatened to kill Asaduzzaman Milon, president of Soron Khola Press Club in Bagerhat. Golam Rasul Yousuf also threatened to blow up the Press Club.
Asaduzzaman Milon is a correspondent for Dainik Ittefaq, NNB (News Network of Bangladesh) and Dainik Rannar at Sorokhola.
The threats occurred after a report was published about the illegal appointment of a lecturer at the TofalBari School and College.
Several other correspondents and local journalists were all present when Yousuf made the threats, but no police complaint has been made.
Militants threaten 10 local papers
A militant organisation calling themselves Allah’r Dal (Allah’s Group) have sent threatening letters to 10 local papers, including Dainik Chandpur Kantha.
The letter demanded the release of local Allah’r Dal chief Shamim Hossen, alias Saifullah Galib, who is being held at the Joint Interrogation Cell in Dhaka.
Galib is being questioned in connection to a series of bomb attacks on August 17 and October 3, 2005.
In their letter, the group threatened to blow up the newspaper offices, along with other important local buildings if their demands were not met.
The letters were sent on October 18.
Request for remand of killers denied
Jessore Court has denied the prosecution’s request to remand seven men accused of murdering M Saiful Alam Mukul, editor of local newspaper Dainik Ranar.
Maola Box, investigation officer in the murder case, requested that the accused be remanded to the Jessore Court on October 2, but on October 18, the court chose not to accept the request.
The accused men are Jahangir alias Hatkata Jahangir of Sankarpur, Rabiul Islam Moron, Rana of Bezpara, Shahin, Tuhin, Fakrul Islam and Saiful Islam of Shamnagar in Satkhira.
“These attacks on journalists and media organisations in Bangladesh must end immediately, journalists have a right to report the truth without fearing for their lives,” said the IFJ president.
“No journalist should be threatened or intimidated for doing their job,” said Warren.
The IFJ calls on all parties in Bangladesh to respect journalists and their work.
For further information, contact Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668.
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries