July 07, 2020
Shariful Alam Chowdhury, a reporter for the Daily Samakal, was severely assaulted by several members of the local citizen union, the Union Parishad on July 4 in Bangladesh.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemned this incident and calls on Bangladesh authorities to increase protections for journalists and bring those responsible for the attack to justice.
Chowdhury, who is also the general secretary of Muradnagar Press Club, had been reporting on corruption and nepotism found within the local Union Parishad led by chairman Shahjahan.
In alleged retribution, multiple assailants dragged him out of his family residence in Kajiatal village before violently attacking him with iron pipes and hammers. When his parents intervened to defend the young journalist, they were also assaulted.
Chowdhury was rescued by local residents and rushed to Cumilla district hospital. Both he and his parents sustained multiple injuries from the attacks with Chowdhury remaining in a critical condition.
The police arrested Shahjahan after an incident report was filed. In a release, they also stated that they are in the process of identifying the other attackers. Despite the arrests, Shahjahan has been granted bail by the Cumilla court.
Attacks on journalists are unfortunately not infrequent in Bangladesh. In April, another journalist was beaten for collecting information on a case of rice embezzlement.
The Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF) said: “This incident is horrific, and we strongly protest against any violence towards journalists. BMSF demands that the culprits are caught and punished without delay.”
The IFJ said: “This assault on Chowdhury is symptomatic of a broken social and legal system that does not champion freedom of speech. It is one in a series of attacks on journalists in Bangladesh. Everything should be done to ensure violence is not normalised and the perpetrators must be held accountable for their acts of violence.”—IFJ media release
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