The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned the attacks on journalists while covering BNP’s grand rally in front of its Nayapaltan office in the city and urged the authorities to investigate all harassment and violence towards Bangladeshi journalists and media workers.
“On October 28, approximately 30 journalists were assaulted while covering clashes between local police, supporters of the opposition Bangladeshi Nationalist Party (BNP), and supporters of the ruling Awami League Party-led coalition,” it said in a statement on Monday.
It read that multiple journalists were beaten by protestors or subject to police violence against the crowd. During the demonstrations, cameras and mobile phones of several journalists were stolen, broken, and damaged.
Among those assaulted during the political rally was Mohammad Ali Mazed, a video journalist with Agence-France-Press (AFP) and a member of the Bangladeshi Journalists in International Media (BJIM) Executive Committee, the statement said.
Mazed was ambushed and beaten on the head and back by BNP protestors, with his safety gear saving him from severe injuries while his journalistic equipment was broken during the assault, it added.
Sazzad Hossain, a freelance photographer for The Guardian, Deutsche Welle (DW), and SOPA Images, was targeted with brick chips and subsequently trampled by another group of BNP protestors.
Numerous other journalists were injured including New Age journalist Ahamed Fayez, Bangla Tribune’s Salman Tarek Shakil, Jobaer Ahmed, Daily Kalbela’s Rafsan Jani, Abu Saleh Musa, Rabiul Islam Rubel, Touhidul Islam Tarek, Dhaka Times’ Salekin Tarin, Kazi Ihsan Didar, Inqilab’s F A Masum, Ittefaq’s Tanvir Ahammed, Sheikh Naser, Ekushey TV’s Touhidur Rahman, Arifur Rahman, Desh Rupantor’s Arifur Rahman Rabbi, Share Biz’s Hamidur Rahman, and Freelance journalist Maruf.
Freedom of expression is of utmost importance in times of unrest, and journalists must be able to do their jobs with their safety guaranteed, said.
The IFJ called for an end to impunity for these violations against journalists, condemns attempts to censor the media through violence, and urges Bangladesh’s government to ensure the security and safety of journalists during this critical election period.