State, ruling party harassing journalists

Harassment of journalists by the state machinery and the ruling party in Bangladesh has increased alarmingly, according to a report ‘Freedom of Expression in Bangladesh-2014’.

“There has been an alarming increase in the harassment of journalists perpetrated mediaby state actors, from 12.5 % in 2013 to 33.69 % in 2014,” said Tahmina Rahman, director of Article 19 Bangladesh and South Asia.

The organisation for freedom of expression published the report in a press briefing at Dhaka Reporters’ Unity on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day on Sunday.

“Among the state actors who have been blamed for the harassment of journalists, 23% were police, RAB and intelligence officials while 11% were bureaucrats. Besides the state machinery, 33.69% of the assaults on journalists were carried by the ruling party men,” she added.

The report indicates an alarming 106% increase in harassment of newsmen, rising from 33 in 2013 to 68 in 2014.

Tahmina said 213 journalists and eight bloggers were separately attacked in 2014. Among them, four were killed, 40 were seriously injured and 62 received minor injuries.

During the period, 13 media persons including Prothom Alo editor and publisher Matiur Rahman, its joint editor Mizanur Rahman Khan and Dhaka-based British journalist David Bergman, faced contempt charges.

She blamed the culture of impunity for this predicament of journalists in Bangladesh.

-Prothom Alo