Assault on New Age reporter | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, October 24, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, October 24, 2009


Assault on New Age reporter

RAB should be held accountable for their conduct

THE Rapid Action Battalion authorities have formally expressed their regrets about the torture perpetrated on New Age reporter FM Masum last week. They have also let it be known that a committee has been formed to inquire into the incident and, based on the findings of the committee, appropriate punishment will be handed out to those responsible for the misdeed. We condemn the assault and want punishment meted out to the perpetrators.
Let there be no mistake though, that those who put the New Age reporter into that horrific situation were simply carrying things too far, clearly going beyond the law as they went about mistreating the reporter. If news reports that have appeared about the incident are any guide, a good deal of effort went on to implicate Masum heinously which only added to the repugnancy.
Which is why at this point we would like to make our perspectives clear. In the first place, any assault on a professional journalist is fundamentally an attack on the free press we have assiduously been trying to build and nurture in Bangladesh. In the second, the attack on Masum has only revealed the grim nature of a law enforcement system which eventually ends up being a violation of the law. The manner in which Masum was arrested and then humiliated at his home and later at the RAB office brings into question the entire matter of the security that citizens can expect from those whose job is to ensure that people can live in freedom and without fear.
Behaviour such as the one the New Age reporter was subjected to the other day must come to a stop. It does grave damage to the national image and to our endeavours to put in place a functioning and purposeful democracy for ourselves. So-called 'cross-fire deaths' have earned a bad name for RAB. We have editorially commented on this whenever the occasion arose.
All in all, therefore, we would like to say, let RAB go for the creation of an internal accountability mechanism that will closely and on a twenty-four hour basis monitor the activities of its personnel across the country.

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