Bangladesh Centre for Development, Journalism and Communication (BCDJC)

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State of Press Freedom, 2008

MARCH 2008
APRIL 2008
MAY 2008
JUNE 2008
JULY 2008

April, 2008
The research cell of Bangladesh Centre for Development, Journalism and Communication (BCDJC) revealed that at least 44 journalists became the victim of arrests, false cases, life threat, harassment and physical assaults in 19 different incidents during the month of April 2008. Off these, 32 journalists were assaulted physically in nine separate incidents; eight journalists given death threats in four incidents, seven others were given threat of dire consequences. A case was filed implicating five journalists and two journalists were physically assaulted in separate incidents. However, no report of causalities and murder was reported during the month.

On April 3, unidentified miscreants threatened Dr. MA Hasan, Convener of War Crime Facts Finding Committee over telephone after publishing the list of war criminals. "You will have to pay for your act of revealing the names of war criminals," Dr Hasan quoted one of the callers as saying. "I have been receiving death threats over telephone since the day I published the list," he said. Earlier, War Crimes Facts Finding Committee, a research organization, unveiled a list of 1,597 war criminals responsible for the mass killings, rapes and other atrocities during the War of Liberation.

On April 19, a Sub-Inspector of Dohar police station, Forman, threatened seven journalists to implicate them in false cases as they published a report of misbehavior with some newsmen working in different national dailies. The policeman also warned the journalist to assault them physically.

Death Threat:
On April 7, Al Amin, Karimganj Correspondent of Daily Noya Diganta received death threat after publishing reports on extortion and anti-social activities of some local miscreants. The newsman received the threat over cell phone numbering 01734-611815. Al Amin lodged a general diary with Karimganj police station in this connection.

On April 9, a group of underground terrorist threatened to kill five journalists of Tala upazila of Satkhira. The journalists were identified as Mir Zakir Hossain of Daily Amar Desh, Gazi Zahidur Rahman of Daily Ittefaq, Md. Nazrul Islam of Daily Bhorer Kagoj, Abdul Jabbar and Hafizur Rahmn of Patra Dut. The terrorist threatened the journalists with a leaflet, headlined- “freedom will come through revolution.” 

On April 25,
local miscreant threatened to kill Md Yusuf Ali, Borura Correspondent of the Daily Destiny. The victim said that after publishing a series of report on the corruption of a local dealer Abdul Latif. Yusuf lodged a general diary with Borura police station in this connection.

Attack/ Physical Assault:
On April 4, Abu Sufian Tipu, a Senior Reporter of Bangla Vision was assault by a captain of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) while he went at the RAB-1 office in Dhaka for covering a news conference.

On April 5,
Interns of Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital kept four journalists confined in a room at the hospital when they went there to cover a report of a tortured patient. The journalists were identified as Abul Mohmmd of Shamol Sylhet, Munn of Shobuj Sylhet, Raihan Ahmed of Jugveri and freelance photojournalist Rahat Khan Shoibal. They were then rescue by police.

On April 6,
HM Babu, staff reporter of the Daily Amader Shomoy was beaten mercilessly by some activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) led by Abdur Rahmn, Wahid, Picchi Sohel after a report was published on the BCL.

On April 7,
Photo journalist of the daily Jugantor Mamun Hasan Mamun, Abir Ahmed and two other newsmen were injured as he was beaten by some interns near the emergency gate of Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital when he along with other photo journalists were taking snaps of ransacking incident committed by the intern doctors. The interns went unruly and swooped on patients' attendants and newsmen at the hospital. They were then rescue by police. Following the incident, sufferings of patients mounted as the interns put the hospital gates under lock and key as part of their abstained from duty for couple of days. They also cited slogan against the journalists working in Sylhet.

On April 11,
a local Union Parishad Chirman of Kustia and his associates attacked and critically injured journalist Rezaul Karim Reza. He came under attack, when a write several report against the illegal activities of the culprits.

On April 15,
at least 15 on-duty journalists of print and electronic media were critically injured in clashes between the police and Islamist activists near Baitul Mukarram in Dhaka. Abu Taher Khokon, chief photojournalist of New Age, sustained critical injuries near the north gate of the mosque as he was taking photographs of the demonstrations. He was injured in the eye with a stone thrown by the Islamists and admitted to National Institute of Ophthalmology Hospital. Al-Emrun Garjon, another New Age photojournalist, was injured in the right arm as the police beat him. The police also broke his camera. Mohammad Belal Hossain, an ETV cameraman, was also injured in the head with a stone thrown by an Islamist activist. Two photojournalists of Prothom Alo, Hasan Raja and Monir Hossain, injured in the head, were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Dinesh Das, a reporter of Amader Somoy, injured in the left arm, was admitted to a clinic. Focusbangla photojournalist Mehedi Ahmed, and Mohammad Babu and Enayet Hossain, two freelance journalists were injured in the head. They were treated in Islami Bank Hospital at Rajarbagh. They were injured when Islamist party activists, rallying against the National Women Development Policy at Baitul Mukarram, clashed with the police.

On April 15,
two journalists of Diganta Television were injuring by the staff of BIRDEM Hospital when they went there to cover a report. Mahmudul Sohel, reporter of the private television channel and its camera cru Monir Uddin were assaulted physically and confined for few hours. Later, police rescued them.

On April 19,
some activists of Bangladesh Jatiytabadi Chhatra Dal (JCD) attacked Anwar Hossain Anu, Dhaka University (DU) Correspondent of the Daily Prothom Alo during his professional assignment at Jashim Uddin Hall of the university.

On April 20,
miscreants launched an attack on three journalists at village Rajbari of Keraniganj. The newsmen were identified as Abdul Ghani of the Daily Inqilab, Mohammad Raihan Khan of the Daily Samakal and Altaf Hossain Mithu of the Daily Sangbad. The journalists came under attack of the miscreants when they went village Rajbari for covering a report.

On April 25,
some activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) attacked Zahidur Rahman, Dhaka University (DU) correspondent of the Daily Dinkal during his professional assignment in front of the Central Library.

On April 17,
Alhaj Kazi Mofazzal Hossain Kaikobad, a former member of parliament filed a compensation case against the Editor, Publisher, Deputy Editor, News Editor and the reporter of the Daily Jugantor. Following a report published in the newspaper, Kaikobad filed this case. After filing the case, Dhaka district session court issued summon against the accused newsmen.

Journalist's Fundamental Right:
On April 14,
the caretaker administration formed the seventh Wage Board with retired High Court judge Habibur Rahman Khan as chairman for journalists and press employees during. 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.

Follow up:
On April 7,
Rajshahi University (RU) authorities have issued a letter to the Assistant Professor of Social Works Department, Rabiul Islam asking for 'detailed explanation and documents' about the subject matter of his write-up published in the daily Janakantha on March 15. He said in his write-up titled “RU teachers' arrest, release and RU administration”, Prof Rabiul Islam criticized the RU authorities’ role for release of the convicted teachers and students in connection with campus violence on August 22 and 23 last year. RU syndicate in their meeting held on March 30 reviewed the teacher's opinion and consequently RU acting Registrar Prof Muhammad Sahfi issued the letter.

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