December 15, 2018

Press Freedom

Bangladesh

Bangladesh October 27, 2005

H.E. Khaleda Zia
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
Dhaka
People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Fax: (011.8802) 81-32-43/ 44

Your Excellency:

The members of the Overseas Press Club of America wish to express alarm at threats against journalists in your country. While one group of reporters received funeral shrouds as a warning that their lives were in danger, others were singled out by a member of your party, who made a speech filled with hatred. We urge you to express your opposition to such activities and to condemn them as beneath the dignity of your great country.

According to our information, the journalists who received the death threats in Satkhira are Abu Ahmed of The Daily Star, Kalyan Banerjee of Prothom Alo, Ramkrishna Chakraborty of Samakal, Mizanur Rahman of Janakantha, Subas Chowdhury of Jugantor, Yarab Hossain of Runner, Kali Das Karmakar of Janata, Abul Kalam Azad of Patradut, and Raghunath Kha of Janmabhumi. The threatening letters were reportedly signed by the outlawed Islamic militant group Bangla Bhai, the radical movement Ahle Hadith, and the Islamic political party Jamaat-i-Islami, a partner of your ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in parliament. Local reporters said the letter warned the journalists not to write about the militants’ activities and threatened to kill Hindus reporting on Islamic groups. Inasmuch as your coalition partner, Jamaat-i-Islami, was involved, we found it significant that your party, which you lead, did not immediately condemn this outrage.

It was especially troubling that you chose not to speak out after a member of your party, Shahidul Alam Talukder, reportedly made a speech directing hatred at members of the press. Surely, Madame Prime Minister, your government and the BNP do not wish to associate themselves with hatred and threats which would violate the human rights of your citizens.

We urge you to speak publicly and firmly against such activities.

Respectfully yours,
John Martin
Norman Schorr
Freedom of the Press Committee

cc:

President Iajuddin Ahmed
Office of the President
Dhaka 1000, Dhaka Division
People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Fax: (011.8802) 86-63-00

Ahmad Tariq Karim
Ambassador of Bangladesh to the U.S.A.
Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
3510 International Drive, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Fax: (202) 244-5366

Ambassador Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdury
Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
to the United Nations
227 East 45th Street
New York, NY 10017
Fax: (212) 972-4310

Harry K. Thomas, Jr.
U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh
Embassy of the United States of America
Madani Avenue,
Baridhara, Dhaka 1212
Bangladesh
Fax: (011.8802) 882-3744