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

September, 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, death threat, harassment and physical assaults in 14 different incidents during the month of September 2008. Off these, 12 journalists were assaulted physically in four separate incidents, two journalists given threat in separate incidents, seven others were given death threat of dire consequences in three incidents. Five cases were filed implicating 18 journalists, one legal notice was served to three newsmen. However, no report of causalities and murder was reported during the month.

On September 7, Helal Uddin, Sirajganj correspondent of the daily Bhorer Kagoj and some of his colleagues received threat for publishing a report against a local political leader. The local Jammat-e-Islami leader Dulal Bhuian threatened him at the Sirajganj press club.

On September 14, local miscreants threatened Altaf Hossain, Baghmara Correspondent (Rajshahi) of the daily Inquilab. He was threatened for reporting illegal occupying of govt. khas land of hut through terrorist activities & drug business.

On September 18, an armed militant group known as Allahr Dal threatened six journalists of Badolgacchi of Naogaon for publishing a report on corruption of a local school. In a letter sent by the district in-charge of the organization, it was mentioned that the journalists would be sent to gallows for publishing the report. They also threatened that the punishment would be executed at any time. The journalist who were given the threat are- Mahbu-ul Islam Alamgir, president of Badolgacchi press club, Wazed Ali, general secretary of the press club, Abu Sayeed of daily Sangbad, Hafizar Rahman of Chandi Bazaar Patrika, Sgar Chowdhury of daily Mukto Barta, Shahidul Islam Dabir of daily Bhorer Kagoj. The journalists demanded their security and filed a General Diary (GD) with the concerned police station.

Death Threat:
On September 13, Anisur Rahman Khan, a senior Reporter, of the Islamic TV, a private TV Channel, filed a General Diary (GD) with Mirpur Police Station in the capital for issuing death threat to him. Some miscreants threatened him over a mobile phone from a hidden number. Recently he made many reports on various fields including political issues, crimes and against activities of Harkatul Jihad.

Attack/ Physical Assault:
On September 12, ten students of the mass communication and journalism department at Dhaka University were injuring in an attack by the Jatiyataadi Chhatra Dal activities in front of Roquiah Hall. Seven of them are covering the campus. One of the injured, shah Alam Kiran, a second year student, was taken to the Orthopaedics Hospital and he was stated to be in a critical condition. The other injured, who were released after giving first aid, were Hasan Nitol, university reporter of ATN Bangla, Biplod Sarkar, ubiversity reporter of Bhorer Kagoj, Ali Asif Shawon, contributor of the Jugantor, Noor-e-Alam Durjoy, contributor of the Samakal, Habibur Rahman, contributor of the Amader Shomoy, Nadim Mahmud, staff reporter of the Janata, Mahuj Shaon, Faojul Kabir and Solayman, all second year students. The attack followed an altercation between the students and a shooting unit of a play Aim in Life aired on the private televisionChannel, Ntv. The students had advised the members of the unit to secure pemission from the university authorities before shooting. At one stage, one of the unit members called in Aminul Islam Amin, president of the JCD sir AF Rahman Hall unit. Amin and his followers attacked the students with iron rods, hocky sticks, bicycle chain and machetes. Biplob Sarkar, one of the inhured, filed a case with the Shahdagh police station in connection with attack. Contacted, aminul told newsmen, `Do whatver you can, nothing will happen to me’. Meanwhile, students of the journalism department at a briefing demanded punishment to the attackers and their expulsion from the university. The progressive Students Alliance and Bangladesh Chhatra Union in separate statements condemned the attack and demaned exemplary punishment to the persons responsible.

On September 13, members of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)-9 attacked and tortured on Mustafizur Rahman at Bhoirab area when the critically sick journalist was going to a health centre in the area. Journalist leaders of Bangladesh Federal Journalist Union (BFUJ) and Dhaka Union of Journalist condemned for the barbaric attack on the journalist and demanded punishment of the accused RAB members.

On September 16, Sheikh Hasan Belal, Kustia district correspondent of Daily Karotoa and News Agency ABAS was physically assaulted by a police officer of Kustia Kotwali police station. According to the eyewitness, the journalist Belal was waiting in front of the police station for some of his colleagues at evening of the day. At that time, Sub-Inspector of the police station Rezaul Karim ordered him to get out from the police station boundary for reason unknown. At on a stage he caught him and confined into the custody and tortured him physically. When the local journalist leaders informed, the rushed the scene and rescued him. Meanwhile, the controversial police officer Rezaul Karim was closed to the police head quarter and the police authority ensured the journalist’s community to punish him according to the existing law.

On September 8, editors of 14 national dailies at an emergency meeting demanded immediate release of The Daily Janakantha Editor Mohammad Atiqullah Khan Masud. He was arrested on March 7 last year. In a joint statement after the meeting at Janakantha Bhaban, the editors said Atiqullah Khan in suffering from neurological problems, heart disease, and intestinal disorder, Kidney trouble and eye problems. He is now under treatment at Bangabandhu Shaikh Mujib Medical University Hospital. They also said the Janakantha is now facing serious editorial problems and financial crisis as its editor has been detained for a long time. Such crisis in a newspaper like the Janakantha is not expected, they observed. This crisis cannot be resolved unless Atiqullah Khan is released, they noted. The editors also said his release will not hamper court proceedings in the cases against him. Signatories to the statement include Editor of The Prothom Alo Matiur Rahman, Bangladesh Observer Editor Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, New age editor Nurul Kabir, Ittefaq editor Rahat Khan, The independent editor Mahbubul Alam etc.

On September 14, case was filed against the Chairman of Ekhushey Television and five of his colleagues on charge of extortion. According to the statement of the case, the plaintiff Hussain Kabir said the ETV authority called him to the television office at Karwan Bazaar area of Dhaka and demanded Taka 23 lakh and 15 thousand. When he refuted, the accused persons including ETV Chairman Abdus Salam, General Manager Ruhul Amin, Account Officer Sobhan, Program Coordinator Sadia Silvana and Filmmaker Shakhawat Al Mamun. Hussain Kabir also alleged the ETV officials also forced him to sign on a blank judicial stamp at that time.

On September 20, a small fertilizer businessman of Nautara bazar of Dimla Upozilla of Nilfamari district lodged extort case against Moen Kabir, the Dimla correspondent of the Daily Shanbad. It was mentioned in the case that, for a long time they were engaged in realizing illegal money from different huts and bazars of Dimla through threating and creating terror.

Legal notice:
On September 1, a false case was filed against Shah Jahan Joni, President of Shiddirganj Press Club and Imam Hasan Shourav, Joint Secretary of the club. One Shafiqul Islam of Narayanganj lodged the extortion case with a view to evil motive. Local journalist bodies and peoples of all strata protested against the filing of the case formed a human chain demanding the withdrawal of the case.

On September 2, a case was filed against eight media people including four editors of national and local daily newspapers for publishing a report. Anisuzzaman Sumon, Secretary of Shamnagar Upazila press club filed the case. The claimed that the newspapers published false and fabricated news against him regarding the miscreants attack on the Shamnagar upazila press club on August 28, 2008. The accused are AMM Bahauddin, Editor of the Daily Inquilab and its reporter Rabiul Islam. Nayeemul Islam Khan, editor and publisher of the daily Amader Shomoy and its reporter Mostafizur Rahman Uzzal, Abul Kalam Azad, Acting Editor of Daily Patra Dut and its reporter Abdul Hakim, Amina Begum, Editor of Daily Kafela and its reporter M Humayun Kabir. It is learnt that, on 29, 30 and 31 August-08 those 4 newspapers published, terrorist attack on Shamnagar Upozilla Pressclub and Anisuzzaman with some journalists lead this terrorist activity. The complainant complains in written that, the news is false.

On September 18, the editor, publisher and a reporter of daily Amar Desh were served with another legal notice for not begging unconditional public apology and publishing the full rejoinder to the false, malicious and defamatory report about the Daily Star, daily Prothom Alo and Transcom group. The notice issued by Dr Kamal Hossain and Associates asked Amar Desh Editor Ataus Samad, publisher Hasmot Ali and the correspondent concerned to immediately withdraw the report published on September 3, beg unconditional public apology and publish the full rejoinder sent to them earlier.

Journalist's Fundamental Right:
On September 1, journalists and employees of Bangladesh Sangbad sangstha (BSS) yesterday went on hunger strike and sit-in programme for payment of salary as per the seventh Wage Board Award. At a meeting at newsroom of the agency they also said if the salary is not paid, they would take tougher programmes to realize their demand. Speakers expressed their anguish, as they were not paid salaries for Wage Board Award and arrears of the sixth Wage Board Award. They criticized the management for its failure to resolve the problems related to salaries and other benefits.

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