Bangladesh: journalists assaulted during live broadcast
Assaults on 14 and 15 August following the death of a controversial religious leader have been condemned by the union.
The National Union of Journalists has joined the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) in calling for an urgent investigation into recent attacks following the death of religious leader Delwar Hossain Sayedee.
Journalist Shokat Manju Shanto with Jamuna TV was targeted by protestors after referring to Sayadee as a convicted war criminal during his live broadcast. Despite wearing a helmet and vest marked with his organisation, photographer Mahfuzur Rahman Mithu, was also met with hostility. At least five journalists were injured as a result of attacks by members of the Jamaat-e-Islami and its student organisation Islami Chhatra Shibirand. RTV reporters had items including a camera and wallet stolen.
Protests had been prompted by the death of Sayedee, a controversial leader who had suffered a heart attack in prison on 14 August. He had been serving a reduced sentence of “imprisonment till death” on charges of rape, murder and the persecution of Hindu Bangladeshi’s during the country’s war for independence in 1971.
The IFJ said:
“The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demands a swift investigation of the circumstance surrounding the brutal assaults on these journalists and urges the relevant authorities to arrest the culprits and bring the perpetrators to justice. These journalists were simply doing their jobs and reporting on the facts of a religious leaders’ life and the charges found against him.”