Government of Bangladesh Uses Unfair Tactics to Disrupt Journalists’ Conference

The Government of Bangladesh has cancelled the venue reservation of an important national journalists’ convention in Bangladesh in the name of ‘security reasons’.

“The decision to cancel the venue registration suggests blatant disregard the Bangladesh Government has for journalists and their rights,” said IFJ president Christopher Warren.

On November 11, 2005 the national convention against the repression of journalists, terrorism and militancy, organised by the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ), was to be held at the auditorium of the Diploma Engineers’ Institute, before the National Security Intelligence (NSI) requested the venue authorities cancel all reservations from November 10 –14 for security reasons.

The reservation was cancelled just thirty hours prior to the scheduled start of the conference after being booked since October 18.

In response to the decision, the BFUJ has scheduled a sit-in demonstration for November 11 at 11am at the National Press Club.

“Bangladesh is one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists, with daily instances of violence, censorship and arrest of journalists,” said Warren.

Journalists in Bangladesh have recently come under attack from both the ruling coalition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and militant organisations.

Recent incidents include: the October 18 fire set to the Dainik Jugantor newspaper by the BNP; death threats by Golam Rasul Yousuf, public relations secretary of the BNP on October 18 against Asaduzzaman Milon, president of Soron Khola Press Club; and threatening letters sent to ten newspapers by Allah’r Dal (Allah’s Group), a militant organisation, threatening to blow up the newspaper offices if Allah’r Dal chief Shamim Hossen was not released.

“This important conference was a step in highlighting the repression of journalists and in recognising the victims and their families,” said Warren.

“The government’s actions show disrespect for the journalist victims and their families and disregard for the important role of independent journalism for a democratic society,” said Warren.

“The IFJ supports the BFUJ’s efforts in response to the government’s decision,” said Warren.

Fore more information on attacks against the media in Bangladesh click here:

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 933 0919

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries