Journalists attacked by thugs aligned with ruling party

Expression

As previously covered on the CIVICUS Monitor, journalists in Bangladesh face a myriad of threats from government-affiliated groups, Bangladeshi security forces and religious extremists. On 28th October 2017, several journalists of national newspapers and private television channels were attacked by a mob allegedly affiliated with Bangladesh's ruling political party, the Awami League. The journalists were travelling in official vehicles from Dhaka to Cox's Bazar as part of a motorcade with the main opposition party - Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). The BNP's chairperson and former Prime Minister Mrs. Khaleda Zia and her party colleagues were going to visit the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar. The region is currently home to over 515,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees who have fled the escalating conflict in Myanmar.

The convoy was en route to the area, when journalists and camera crews were accosted and attacked by activists reportedly affiliated with the ruling Awami League in Feni district town and Boriarhat in Chittagong. CIVICUS Monitor partner, the Asian Human Rights Commission has learned from the journalists that the attackers damaged the official vehicles with sticks and iron rods. The microphones of TV journalists were taken and their camera equipment was broken by the attackers, who were later identified as the local leaders of student and youth wings of the ruling party. The incident was captured in the video below: 

According to local reports, at least five journalists were reportedly injured in the violence. Despite police being on duty in the area, it is also reported that the police did not attempt to intervene and prevent the attack or rescue the journalists.

The media workers attacked in the incident have been identified as follows, along with their media affiliation:

  • Shafik Ahmed - Ekattor TV
  • Golam Morshed - Boishakhi TV
  • Hassan Mahmud - NTV
  • Saifuddin Robin - Jamuna TV
  • Hassan Molla -  The Daily Jai Jai Din
  • Mohiuddin Khan - The Daily Nayadiganta
  • Salim Zahid - JProthom Alo
  • Ashraful Alam - Prothom Alo
  • Masum - The Daily Star
  • Habibur Rahman Habib - The Daily Jugantor
  • Sumon Mahmud - BD News 24 Dot Com
  • Shafik Shafi - The Kaler Kanth
  • Zafar Iqbal - The Daily Sangram
  • Abdur Rahman Jahangir - United News of Bangladesh and its camera person, Ajit Aich Tapash
  • Mohammad Sayeed - Broadcast Technician
  • Apon Ahmed - DBC TV