Unprecedented attack on journalists
IT is disquieting to see that the media was conspicuously barred from properly covering the city polls. They were denied access to polling centres and in many cases came under attack by ruling party cadres. Unfortunately, the election administration and police showed an apathetic attitude towards these acts of intimidation. It has been alleged that in some cases they colluded with the perpetrators.
According to various reports, at least 10 journalists were assaulted by ruling party men. In many cases they threatened journalists not to enter the polling booths and drove out those who were already inside. Some media persons were robbed of their mobiles, cameras, phones, handbags and cash. Two reporters of this newspaper were beaten by BCL men in a polling centre at Dhaka University and several others including two photographers were prevented from covering the elections. Though the Election Commission was repeatedly informed about these incidents they did not take any effective action.
We strongly condemn such blatant attacks on the media right under the nose of the Election Commission and law enforcing agents. The EC as well as the government cannot shrug off their responsibility of ensuring a favourable election environment for the media. Media plays the role of a watch dog during elections to ensure that they are held in a free and fair manner. Obstructing the media from covering elections has only made the city elections controversial which does not bode well for the future of democracy.