22 March 2012
IFJ Concerned by Intimidation and Harassment of Media in Bangladesh
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned by recent reports that journalists and media in Bangladesh continue to be subjected to threats and harassment.
It is reported that nineteen journalists in the south-western district of Pirojpur presented themselves to the district police station on March 14, demanding protection from threats made against them by the district’s ruling party, the Awami League, at a public rally the previous day.
The IFJ has learned from sources in Bangladesh that the journalists had been threatened with violence following their publication in local newspapers of critical reports about two members of the district parliament. The reports, which alleged that two local politicians had been involved in corruption and nepotism, were subsequently republished in daily newspapers and news channels based in the capital city, Dhaka.
It is alleged that members of the Awami League threatened the journalists that if they published critical reports about the two parliamentarians again they would be forced to leave the city or would be "chopped into pieces and buried."
Further to this incident, IFJ associates in Bangladesh have expressed concern over a notice issued to private television channel Ekushey TV (ETV) by the National Board of Revenue for failure to submit tax returns for three years. ETV claims that it is yet to complete its financial audit for the years in question as it is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) of shares.
This notice follows intervention by Bangladeshi authorities on March 12 to prevent ETV, and two other television channels, from broadcasting a speech by the leader of the national opposition at a political rally.
“Friction between the media and the government and ruling party of Bangladesh persists at the local and national levels”, said the IFJ Asia-Pacific.
“We call on the Government of Bangladesh to demonstrate greater tolerance of legitimate media criticism and to take action to ensure those politicians and public officials who intimidate journalists or the media in the performance of their duties are investigated and charged”.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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