On Friday, March 17, the Dhaka University Journalists Association (DUJA) condemned the police action at the Supreme Court on Wednesday, in which 10 journalists were injured. DUJA described the incident as “heinous” and “demanded justice” for the attack.
“The way the police have attacked journalists on the premises of the highest court of the country is totally unexpected in a civilized society. Through this attack, the constitutionally recognized freedom for media has been trampled and created a brutal example of human rights violations. This despicable attack is totally against the law,” DUJA’s statement read.
The association of Bangladeshi Journalists in International Media (BJIM) has also condemned the attack.
Scores of journalists were present at the Supreme Court, covering the Bar Association Election, when they came under police attack on March 15. Among the injured, ATN News journalist Javed Akhtar was described to be in a critical condition and rushed to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, according to TBS News.
A number of prominent civil society members condemned the police action, stressing that this attack on journalists inside Bangladesh’s highest court provided a brutal example of the state using the police as a means to suppress others.
In the past decade, at least 15 journalists have been killed in Bangladesh, as estimated by five special UN Rapporteurs last year. A recent example of violence against journalists is the abduction and assault of Abu Azad in the southeastern city of Chattogram on December 25 last year. Prior to that, Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi were stabbed to death at their homes in 2021.
“There have been more examples of attacking journalists. As the administration didn’t take any steps against those attacks, the incidents of attacking and abusing journalists have increased in recent times,” the DUJA statement adds.
This violence does not come solely at the hands of the police. Representatives of the Awami League and its supporters have been harassing and physically attacking journalists as well. Reporters Without Borders has registered seven such serious attacks in the past two months.