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Journalism is becoming difficult in Bangladesh: TIB

The government's stance on free media and independent journalism has practically turned into a meaningless formality.

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Dhaka: TIB does not consider the recent series of attacks on journalists while collecting news of irregularities and corruption in Bangladesh as an isolated incident. The anti-corruption organization said these incidents are a continuation of the trend of suppressing the voice of the media through abuse of power, assault cases, and lack of justice. TIB also feels that journalism is becoming difficult in the country.

In a statement issued today on Wednesday, TIB said that some steps were taken immediately in the case of attacks on journalists. But in a practical sense, in most cases, the trial does not end. Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) demanded strict punishment of the culprits in every case through an immediate and fair investigation. They also demanded a special law for the protection of journalists.

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In a statement, TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said that the people of the country are now facing a multifaceted crisis due to money laundering and various forms of corruption by influential and powerful corrupt people.

At this time, the series of attacks on journalists for uncovering and publishing information about corruption is by no means an isolated incident.

Recently, several television channels and newspaper journalists were brutally attacked while collecting information on corruption and irregularities in various public services and financial institutions, including the medical sector. It is clear how ruthless, powerful, and organized the corrupt are. They don’t care about any state authority, let alone law enforcement. This reckless behavior proves that they get protection and impunity under the umbrella of some influential quarters.

Iftekharuzzaman said, “Though incidents of torture of journalists and cases of attacks on media control occur at regular intervals, there is practically no instance of appropriate punishment through strict legal action.” We have been expressing concern about these for a long time. The government’s stance on free media and independent journalism has practically turned into a meaningless formality.

Referring to the information from the Law and Arbitration Center, Iftekharuzzaman said that from the beginning of this year to July, at least 119 journalists have been subjected to various attacks, lawsuits, and torture. Out of which 38 were victims of assault while performing professional duties and 19 were victims of cases due to published news.

In particular, the recent horrific attacks on at least three television journalists in Dhaka and Barisal while gathering information on the long-standing irregularities and corruption in the health sector prove the reckless violence of the powerful syndicates and their protectors in the sector.

The Executive Director of TIB raised the question of whether such a series of attacks on journalists is a deep-rooted and organized conspiracy to demoralize them and prevent them from revealing information about corruption. He said, according to the World Impunity Index-2021, Bangladesh’s tenth position in the insecurity of journalists is a shameful example of the obvious risk of journalism in the country.

According to the ‘World Free Media Index 2022’, Bangladesh is ranked 162 out of 180 countries, 10 steps behind. This proves that journalism is steadily getting harder in this country. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure a fair trial in every case through the immediate formulation of special laws for the protection of journalists and their effective implementation.

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