Editors’ Council condemns attack on journalists on Sunday
The Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) and the Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) formed a human chain in front National Press Club demanding justice for the attacks on journalists covering the student protests since July 29.
Showkat Mahmud, former general secretary of the National Press Club, called for the government to take action against those responsible for the attacks on them during their coverage of the student protests.
He added that if those responsible for the violence were not apprehended by August 7, journalists all over the country will stage demonstrations from August 8 onwards.
Students have been protesting on the streets of Dhaka and eventually nationwide after two students were killed by a speeding bus on the Airport Road on Jul 29.
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Demonstrations were eventually met with clashes with police and suspected ruling party men.
During these clashes, journalists covering the incidents were violently assaulted, while the police watched silently.
Showkat, representing the journalists, also called for the resignation for four ministers – Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu, and Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid.
Ruhul Amin Gazi, former president of a faction of BFUJ, said students were protesting and demanding safer roads for all, and questioned why the request for such a basic right was met with such violence.
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He claimed that whenever there are peaceful demonstrations for demands of basic rights, the government always diverted situation towards violence.
Quader Gani Chowdhury, president of a faction of DUJ, called for arrests of those responsible for the attacks. He called for immediate action as the perpetrators have already been identified on social media.
He added that media and the press are unable to carry out their responsibilities due to alleged pressurefrom powerful quarters.
The government should ensure security to media-personsand help them carry out their work, else they will be forced to come out and stage demonstrations, he said.
Press Club Joint General Secretary Ilias Khan, DUJ General Secretary Shahidul Islam, and former Press Club general secretary Syed Afzal Hossain among others also spoke at the program.
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Editors’ Council condemns attack on journalists
The Editors’ Council expresses grave concern and condemned the indiscriminate attack on journalists covering the students’ movement.
In a statement signed by Mahfuz Anam, secretary general of the council and editor of The Daily Star, the council also condemned the role played by the police who allowed the attacks to continue without making any attempt to stop it.
“We [the Editor’s Council] would like to reiterate that freedom of expression and that of the media are guaranteed by the constitution of Bangladesh and not allowing the media to function freely ultimately destroys democracy which is one of the hard earned gains of our Liberation War,” reads the statement.
Nearly two dozen photojournalists and reporters of newspapers and TV channels were physically assaulted including one from the Associated Press and a freelance photographer by ruling party activists wielding sticks, in the presence of police in different parts of the city.