Bangladesh Centre for Development, Journalism and Communication (BCDJC)

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

State of Press Freedom, 2008

MARCH 2008
APRIL 2008
MAY 2008
JUNE 2008
JULY 2008

November, 2008
A total of 27 journalists were assaulted or harassed in 14 different incidents across the country in November 2008. The research cell of Bangladesh Centre for Development, Journalism and Communication (BCDJC) revealed the data following the newspapers monitoring and field level investigation. During the period 12 journalists came under attack in four incidents, five were given death threat, a case was filed implicating one journalist, one was arrested and a newspaper was banned. However, no report of casualties or murder was reported during the month.

Death Threat:
On November 22, H M Allauddin, General Secretary of Khulna Metropolitan Journalist Union (KJU) and Staff Reporter of the Daily Purbanchal was threatened to kill by Dr. Obaidullah Baki, a physicain of Khulna Medial College Hospital threatened for publishing a report on corruption. A General Dairy (GD) was filed with the Sonadanga police station in this connection.

On November 8, miscreants threatened Abdur Razzak, editor of The Shimantobani, a local daily of Sherpur to kill for publishing news on corruption of a local businessman.

On November 8, terrorists have threatened Advocate Adbul Hamid, Kolaroa Correspondent (Satkhira) of the daily Inqilab to kill for publishing a report on corruption. It was learnt that a report on corruption of plundersing CI sheets by a local gang in several newspapers including the daily Inqilab, the daily Amar Desh and the daily Janata. After publishing the news, miscreants threatened the jouranlist to kill. Following the incident, Abdul Hamid lodged a general diary with Kolaroa police station in connection with the incident.

On Novemnber 13, reporters of the Rajshahi University brought out a procession at the campus in protesting the death threat to two journalists by a group of cultural activities. Abu Sayem, the general secretary of Udichi along with some activists of Dumketu Nattyo Sangsad (DNS) allegedly issued death threat to Rajshahi University Press Club members for publishing news on a controversial drama that undermined the prophet of Allah and Islam. After parading the whole campus, the rally ended at Central Library of RU.

Attack/ Physical Assault:
On November 3, five journalists were attacked on a seminer of Jatiya Party in Nilphamari. Among the injure Monjurul Islam, Nilphamari representative of Ekushey Television (ETV) was admitted in a critical condition at Nilphamari Sadar Hospital. After finished the seminar, journalists wanted to know about the election plans from Hossein Md. Ershad. The political workers attacked the journalists in front of the former president HM Ershad. Monjurul Islam became senseless and His camera was snatched.

On November 9, some wanted terrorists attacked Md. Sarwar Hossen, Vanga Upazila   correspondent of The Daily Dinkal. Abdur Rob, one of the accused of sensationl Malek murder case and his some accomplices including Fazlu, Ershad, and Yakub attacked on the journalist. Sarwar was admitted to the local hospital in a critical condition.

On November 20, five journalists were assaulted by a group of land-grabbers at Sreenagar upazila when they tried to resist the gang in occupying a plot of land allocated for Upazila Press Club. Sources said district administration has allocated 1,350 square feet of land for the press club recently. But some miscreants, led by Dulal, Didar and Abed Ali, damaged its signboard and fence at noon. They also assaulted Upazila Press Club president Nazrul Islam, general secretary and correspondent of Boishakhi Television Zakir Hussain Sumon, Manab Jamin correspondent. Arif, The Destiny correspondent, Abir, Rajbanshi and Inqilab correspondent Shafiqul Rahman when they were resist the land grabbers. They also snatched away a camera and a tape recorder from Nazrul Islam. On information, police rushed in, but none was arrested in this connection. A case was filed with the police.

On November 27, miscreants torured Abul Hossaib Asif, Rupganj Correspondent of the daily Inqilab and attemped to murder. Local sources said that the miscreants abduct the journalist on the night of Novemeber 27, while he was returning home from his workplace at Bolaikha area of Rupganj. They tortured and sanctched valuables from him. Later, police rescued the newsman and admitted to the nearby hospital. A case was filed with Rupganj police station in connection with the incident.

On November 2, a court in Narayanganj sent two journalists including the editor of a local daily to jail. The journalists were Swapan Kumar Poddar, editor of the daily Agrobani and Abu Mohammad Hamidul Haq, executive editor of the same newspaper. Additional chief judicial magistrate Sheikh Golam Mahabub ordered to send them to jail when they appeared before the court seeking bail in an extortion case filed with Fatullah police station on November 2. According to prosecution, plaintiff okhtar Hassen Moti (50) a businessman, filed an extortion case against, two journalists allegedly for demanding Taka one lakh as extortion.

Legal notice:
On November 3, in a libel case, there is an order of arrest warrant against the editor, press editor and reporter of The Daily Destiny. After taking the deposition of the guest producer and reporter of BTV Mahbuba Rahman Mafli, the Dhaka Mahanagar Haqim D. S. M. Majid Rafi ordered of arrest warrant. The complaint is news published in different headlines against the complainant in The Daily Destiny on 10 September and 15 August.

Court verdict/Acquisition:
On November 10, a Supreme Court lawyer filed a comtempt of court lawsuit against Matiur Rahman, editor of the editor of daily Prothom Alo, its pulisher Mahfuz Anam and reporter Mizanur Rahman Khan. The lawyer, Munshi Ahsan Kabir, said the three people had committed an offence under the contempt of court ordinance by publishing a news item under the headline `order passed in 298 cases in 315 minutes' on November 9 issue of the daily. The petition was submitted to the High Court bench of justice syed Mahmud Hossain and Justice Quamrul Islam Siddiqui and the bench set for hearing.

On November 17, the High Court gave Prothom Alo editr Matiur Rahman, publisher Mahfuz Anam and reporter Mizanur Rahman Khan four weeks to explain why proceedings would not be drawn against them on charge of contempt of court for publishing news-item involving court orders. The High Court bench of justice syed Mahmud Hossain and justice Quamrul Islam Siddiqui also exemoted the three journalists from personal appearance in court during the hearing of the case. The Court passed the order after hearing separate petitions filed by the journalists appearing in court. On November 11, the court asked the three to appear in court in connection with the contempt of court case. Supreme Court lawyer Munshi Ahsan kabir had earlier filed a petition for drawing contempt of the court proceedings against the three for publishing a report headlined 'Orders passed in 298 cases in 315 minutes' in the November 9 issue of the daily Prothom Alo. The same court also asked the Prothom Alo publisher, editor and reporter to explain in two weeks why proceedings would not be drawn against them on contempt of court charges for publishing the reports. Kamal Hossain defended Prothom Alo. The court told Kamal, `If such a trend of keeping the jurges under pressure continues, it would be difficult for us to discharge our duties properly. The court reminded that the media are enjoying their freedom because of the Supreme Court, as it is always vigilant in upholding freedom of press.

Journalist's Fundamental Right:
On November 21, photojournalist Association complained that, government deceived from their professional's responsibilities and rights. In the Armed Forces Day, government did not give any chance to take photo to the photojournalists on 21 November. In the same time all the journalists of electronic mediam got this chance. Government also did not allow taking any photo of the conference about the two big political party’s chairman Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina’s long awaited get-together. The government has deceived their valuable rights by this. The photojournalists became very upset about this matter. They wish, government will alert about this matter in future.

On Novemnber 23, the leaders of journalist community in the port city of Chittagong demanded implementation of the 7th Wage Board in the six local newspapers within the November 2008. The leaders also warned that if the said six newspapers in Chittagong will not implement the 7th Wage Board within the deadline, the Chittagong Union of journalists (CUJ) would declare continuous movement programme from the next month. In a meeting held at Daily Azadi, the leaders of CUJ expressed dissatisfaction over the role of the owners of local dailies of Chittagong. In the meeting, the leaders of the journalist's community urged to the government to take step against those newspapers authorities who were refusing to implement of the 7th Wage Board. They said, in the days of the prize hike, the journalists in the country are passing their days with family in hardship. So, the 7th Wage Board should be implemented immediately.

Ban and license cancellation:
On November 11, the declaration of The Daily Uttaranchal has canceled because of long time no publishing. Bogra district magistrate and district administrator Humayun Kabir ordered to cancel the declaration of this newspaper.

On November 20, Shah Alam, Ashulia Correspondent of the daily Bangla Bazar Patrika was tortured by police on the basis of a false case that was filed in city’s Pallabi police station. The journalist was also sent to jail illegally. On charge of harrasing the journalist, the top authority of the police administration has suspended a Sub-Inspector named Shahin Aman Ullah.

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