Bangladesh Centre for Development, Journalism and Communication (BCDJC)

19/3 Bir Uttam Kazi Nuruzzaman Road
West Panthapath
(East side of Square Hospital)
Dhaka 1205
Tel : +88 02 9126900
Fax : +88 02 9128748
E-mail : [email protected], [email protected]

State of Press Freedom, 2008

MARCH 2008
APRIL 2008
MAY 2008
JUNE 2008
JULY 2008

February, 2008
There was no death reported in February 2008 but at least five journalists faced harassment or received threat to life during the month for their professional work. Four journalists were given threat to life while one reportedly harassed during his professional works. In February, however government withdrew ban that was imposed earlier on two popular program of ETV. The caretaker administration has also formed the Seventh Wage Board for journalists, employees.

Death Threat:
On February 18, miscreants threatened Shwadhan Bikash Chakma, Baghai Chhari correspondent of the Daily Prothom Alo to kill him. Sources said, some miscreants led by Nanta Talukdaer, Assistant Teacher of Shialday Govt Private School asked the journalist why he wrote against their irregularities in the newspaper. They warned the newsman to stop writing against them. If the journalist writes any wrong against them they will kill him.

On February 28, unidentified miscreants threatened Md. Rafiqul Islam, Bajitpur Correspondent of The Dainik Inquilab to kill for publishing report against corruption of local musclemen. Sources said the journalist received the threat from the cell phone number 01712404594.

Attack/ Physical Assault:
On February 2, a convicted terrorist attack on journalists in the court premises of C'Nawabganj. According to the eyewitness, after the court verdict for life, an active member of Jamaatul Mujahedin Bangladesh (JMB) Tufan attack on Zahid Hasan, a correspondent of private television channel Bangla Vision in spite of the police security. The angry JMB man also damaged the camera of Tufan. Later, the on duty police picked up the whisked away the convict from the court premises.

On February 16, police Super of Tangail District on February 25 assaulted Jahangir Hossain and Sohel while they were taking snaps of torturing on a truck driver in the town. The Police Super Abdul Mannan himself took away the camera of the journalists and threatened to through them into lock up.

On February 10, a court granted bail to Sayed Borhan Kabir. One Belal Hossain filed a forgery case of Taka two lakh with Dhaka Metropolitan Court on November 28, 2007. After the trial, the court sentenced Borhan Kabir to one-year imprisonment and also fined Taka three lakh. Police arrested him on February 9 and sent him to jail. A defamation case was filed against the Editor of Weekly 2000, Moinul Ahsan Saber, publisher of the weekly Mahfuz Anam, Chief Reporter Badrul Anam Nabil and reporter Masud Kamal. Asharf Siddiqui, Chairman of Jaitya Party central committee on behalf of former president Hossain Mohammad Ershad filed the case on January 28. According to the case statement, an autobiography of Bidisha, former wife of Ershad, was published in the weekly 2000 where the plaintiff found defamatory information that led to filing the case. However, the court dismissed the case saying that the victim (Ershad didn't) file the case.

On February 15, a case was filed against Kamal Hossain, Correspondent of The Daily Amar Desh and former President of Kapashia Press Club, Gazipur. Sources said that one Morshed Molla, Union Parishad member of Karihata UP filed the case with Kapasia police station alleging extortion.

Court verdict/Acquisition:
On February 25, a journalist was jail for five years in an extortion case by a Speedy Trail Tribunal in Khulna. The court also fined Shahbaz Khan, journalist of the daily Falafal, published from Khulna, Taka 5,000 and in default another five months of imprisonment. According to the prosecution, police arrested Shahbaz when he was taking Tk. 5,000 as toll from the authority of Mamata Clinic under Khan Jahan Ali police station on October 2, 2007.

On February 23, a High Court division bench brought contempt charges against all the journalists and office staff of weekly Shirsha Kagoj for disclosing the sources of the news headlined "A Judge too whitened black money" carried by the periodical. The bench comprising Justice Shah Abu Nayeem Mominur Rahman and Justice Shahidul Islam passed the order under a suo moto rule.

Journalist's Fundamental Right:
On February 26, the caretaker administration on Tuesday formed the seventh Wage Board with retired High Court judge Habibur Rahman Khan as chairman for journalists and press employees. The seventh Wage Board will review its predecessor's awards and announce the revised award following discussions with related parties. The board will submit its recommendations to the caretaker government in two months from now.

Ban and license cancellation:
On February 1, the Ekhushey Television (ETV), a private television channel has resumed the broadcasting of its popular program Ekushey Shomoy and Ekushey Raat. The authority concerned of the ruling government had imposed ban on these program on January 25. The government has given the permission to conduct the programme with some terms and condition.

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