At least 16 journalists have been victims of serious violence since the start of 2020
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has called for an independent investigation into Sunday's murder of a Narayanganj journalist, Iliyas Hossain, whose coverage of criminal activity had led to the arrest of two local gang leaders.
Those responsible for the crime must not go unpunished, the Paris-based organization said in statement on Monday night.
With the latest incident, at least 16 journalists have been the victims of serious violence in Bangladesh since the start of the year, it said.
After passers-by found him lying in a pool of blood at around 8:15pm in Bandar, a municipality that is part of Narayanganj district, Iliyas Hossain was taken to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead at 9pm on Sunday.
Iliyas’s family believe he was killed in reprisal for articles he had written for the Dainik Bijoy daily about the criminal activities of local gangsters, especially drug dealing and the provision of illegal gas connections.
Two brothers who were arrested because of his articles, Tushar and Turjoy Miah, had just been released on bail.
“We call on the Narayanganj district prosecutor’s office to order an immediate investigation to ensure that Iliyas Hossain’s brutal murder does not go unpunished,” Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia Pacific desk said.
“In view of the extremely dangerous environment for reporters in Bangladesh, we suggest that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government should create an effective mechanism for protecting journalists,” he added.
Daily Samakal Reporter Shariful Alam Chowdhury was nearly beaten to death by 10 thugs armed with steel bars in Muradnagar, on the outskirts of Comilla, 100km east of Dhaka, on July 4, after writing about alleged corruption and nepotism involving a local official.
As RSF reported at the time, another newspaper journalist, Shelu Akand, was left for dead after being badly beaten by men with steel bars in the northern city of Jamalpur last December.
Bangladesh is ranked 150th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index.