IFJ Demands Investigation into Horrific Murder of Journalist in Bangladesh

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), today called for an investigation by the Government of Bangladesh into the horrific death of journalist Manik Shaha, of the daily New Age and stringer for the Bengali service of BBC World Service.


Shaha was deliberately targeted and killed in a home-made bomb attack in Khulna in south western Bangladesh yesterday.


Shaha was killed on 15 January 2003 while returning home from covering a meeting of the opposition Awami League. Shaha was decapitated and killed instantly when unidentified assailants threw a hand-made bomb at him after stopping his rickshaw.


According to reports, Shaha had previously mentioned to his BBC World Service Bureau Chief in Dhaka that he had been feeling threatened recently. Shaha had published articles highlighting the illegal activities of armed Maoist groups and criminal gangs in Bangaldesh.


Despite numerous witnesses to the event, police have yet to release a statement.


The IFJ has called for a complete and thorough investigation into the attack, ensuring that those responsible are brought to justice.


“Such an horrific attack must not be allowed to go unpunished,” said Christopher Warren, President of the IFJ, today.


“It is imperative that the Government of Bangladesh sends a clear message to rogue groups that those who threaten and harm journalists - in this case, in the worst possible way - will be brought to justice,” Warren said.


2003 saw a total of 91 media deaths, an increase of 18 from 2002. Shah is the first journalist to be killed in 2004.


For further information, please contact Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668.


The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries.


PROTEST


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


16 January 2004


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 outraged over the death of journalist, Manik Shaha of the daily newspaper, New Age and stringer for the Bengali service of BBC World Service in a bomb attack in Khulna, in south western Bangladesh.


According to our information, on 15 January Shaha was returning from covering a meeting of the opposition Awami League via the local press club, which he had been president of previously. Unidentified assailants stopped the rickshaw he was travelling in and threw a home-made bomb decapitating and killing Shaha instantly.


Despite several witnesses to the attack, the bombers managed to leave the scene, and the police have yet to release a statement.


Shaha had recently informed his Dhaka Bureau Chief of BBC World Service that he had felt threatened, over previously published articles on the illegal activities of armed Maoist groups and local criminal gangs.


The IFJ calls on the Government of Bangladesh to ensure a full and thorough investigation into the incident and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.


Such an horrific attack must not be allowed to go unpunished. It is imperative that the Government of Bangladesh send a clear message to rogue groups that those who threaten and harm journalists - in this case, in the worst possible way - will be brought to justice.


Finally we call upon the Government of Bangladesh to ensure the safety of all journalists working in Bangladesh.


Yours sincerely




Christopher Warren

President, IFJ


Recommended Action:


Send appeals to the Government of Bangladesh:


  • Expressing deep concern over the horrific death of Manik Shaha

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

  • Calling on the Government of Bangladesh to 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


    For further information please contact IFJ Asia at ifj@ifj-asia.org


    Please copy appeals to the IFJ Asia Office at ifj@ifj-asia.org