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Journalists under threat

  • Published at 06:32 pm February 11th, 2017
  • Last updated at 06:48 pm February 11th, 2017
Journalists under threat

A free press is one of the fundamental institutions of democracy.

Every day, journalists around the world put themselves at risk to provide news and information to the public.

But unfortunately in Bangladesh, being a journalist carries added dangers that should not be part of the job.

Recent events paint a grim picture: There are all too many reports of journalists being assaulted or even murdered, framed for crimes they did not commit, or just being subjected to harassment by the law.

Given the risks, it would seem that Bangladesh is no country for journalists.

We need to stand up to injustices being perpetrated against the free press, and fight the climate of fear which prevents journalists from properly doing their jobs.

There is absolutely no excuse for law enforcement personnel to stand by idly as journalists get assaulted by political goons -- even less so for law enforcement officers to be active participants themselves in these assaults.

We have heard too many hollow promises from politicians that the attacks against journalist will stop -- clearly these incidents have continued unabated.

If the government were indeed doing all it could to protect journalists, this climate of fear we now find ourselves in would not persist.

When journalists are made to constantly fear for their lives, where there is no satisfactory legal follow-up to attacks on journalists, all of our basic freedoms are at stake.

It is part of job of the free press to ask hard questions -- sometimes doing so leads to exposing corruption, revealing the truth about various organisations, or simply expressing unpopular opinions about powerful figures.

Thwarting this freedom through intimidation, violence, and harassment is undemocratic, and a threat to the basic values of this nation.

We therefore urge the government to act with a firm hand against those who attack journalists, and to send a strong message that this cannot continue.