118 journalists attacked till May this year: Article 19
As many as 118 journalists were physically attacked in the first five months of this year, said Article 19 in a statement today (June 12, 2022).
There were 62 incidents where journalists were physically assaulted, the organisation said.
The organisation also expressed grave concern over the brutal killings of three media workers within the last three months.
"On June 8, 2022, Abdul Bari, a senior production executive of the private television channel DBC News, was found dead with marks of stabbing on his chest and neck in a bush on the bank of Hatirjheel Lake in the capital," said the statement.
Earlier on June 6, 2022, the police recovered the body of Abu Jafar Pradeep, a correspondent of local daily Sorejomin Barta, from a pond in Kalapara Upazila of Patuakhali.
Yet another journalist was killed on April 13, pointed out by the organisation. "Mohiuddin Sarkar Naeem, a journalist based in Cumilla, was shot dead by miscreants while performing his professional duties in Burichang Upazila of Cumilla," it said.
The organisation demanded that the real culprits involved in the three murders be brought to justice following a proper investigation.
"Continued violence against journalists across the country, including the filled cases and arrests made under the deeply flawed Digital Security Act of 2018, the recent brutal killings of three media workers, as well as the internationally talked about journalist couple Sagar-Runi murder case in which the submission of an investigation report has been deferred for 89th time so far proves that the violation of the rights of journalists and crimes against journalists indicate the persisting culture of impunity and increasingly fragile state of freedom of expression in Bangladesh," said Article 19.
This has created an atmosphere and culture of fear and self-censorship, it added.
The rights body also demanded that the government act on its commitment to amend the DS
As many as 23 journalists were prosecuted in 10 cases this year, it said. Of them, three were imprisoned.
"Admitting the fact that the law has been misused and abused, several responsible ministers in the recent past have promised to reform the law with an assurance not to arrest journalists immediately sued under the law. However, the reality is different; cases and arrests under this law are rampant," said the statement, quoting Faruq Faisel, regional director for Article 19 South Asia.