Attacks on journalists an effort to muzzle press freedom, says TIB
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) said on Wednesday that recent attacks on journalists in the course of their professional work – gathering information on irregularities and corruption – are not isolated incidents, but rather attempted abuses. of political power and suppression of freedom of the press.
The Bangladeshi chapter of the Berlin-based anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International made the remarks in a press release issued yesterday, in which it also called for justice for each incident and a special law to protect journalists.
“While the people of the country are facing a multi-faceted crisis due to money laundering and various forms of corruption by corrupt influential and powerful people, a series of attacks against journalists have taken place. These are not not isolated incidents at all,” TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman said.
“In particular, the recent brutal attacks on journalists from several TV stations and newspapers while they were gathering information on the corruption of the medical sector in Barishal clearly show how reckless, powerful and organized the corrupt are! They don’t care about any state authority.
He also added that such behavior proves that the corrupt are protected by influential circles.
“Despite such incidents of torture of journalists occurring regularly, exemplary punishment is almost absent, which has long worried us,” Iftekharuzzaman said.
In its statement, TIB said that at least 119 journalists had suffered various forms of torture from January to July this year. Among them, 38 were assaulted in the line of duty and 19 were prosecuted for publishing information.
Referring to the 2022 Press Freedom Index, in which Bangladesh’s position fell 10 notches to 162nd out of 180 countries, the anti-corruption watchdog said journalism in Bangladesh was becoming a more and more difficult day by day.
To prevent such heinous incidents, TIB called for the effective implementation of the eight recommendations of the 2018 UN Universal Periodic Review related to the safety and security of journalists.