IPI urges Bangladesh to protect journalist safety, release critics
M Humayun Kabir: The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists, has expressed grave concern over recent attacks on working journalists and the detention of noted photojournalist Shahidul Alam.
In a letter, IPI urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to take robust steps to prevent violence against journalists, according to a report published on its website yesterday, reports UNB.
It also urged the premier to ensure the release of Alam and drop all charges brought against him.
“We note with great concern a series of recent attacks on working journalists, several of which were reportedly carried out by supporters of your party as well as, in the case of journalists covering the ongoing student protests, by security forces”, said IPI Head of Advocacy Ravi R Prasad.
In the letter, Prasad said, “These attacks indicate that your party has grown intolerant of independent journalists and critics and that it is deploying its cadres to crush journalistic coverage of dissent, which is contrary to the democratic values your government claims to uphold.”
Describing the arrest and prosecution of Shahidul Alam as a clear infringement of freedom of expression as guaranteed under international treaties signed by Bangladesh the letter further noted that Alam has been charged with spreading propaganda and false information against the government due to Facebook posts and an interview he gave to Al Jazeera.
These charges, the letter said, which are based on the controversial Section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act, appear to be an act of retaliation for Alam’s critical views.