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Eight journalists receive death threats

(IFJ/IFEX) - The following is an IFJ media release:

IFJ concerned about political targeting of journalists

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is deeply concerned about threats made against journalists for reporting politically sensitive issues.

"Continued threats of attacks on journalists and their families to prevent the independent press reporting on incidents involving government officials and community leaders cannot be tolerated," said IFJ President Christopher Warren.

"The ongoing hostility towards journalists by political parties destroys their right to report freely and independently and is completely unacceptable," said the IFJ President.

"Those in positions of authority must respect the free press and should not condone or incite threats which aim to stifle the independent media," said Warren.

On 24 August, seven journalists from different media organisations received death threats via post in Bagerhat, warning them against writing about 'our MP'.

Journalists Hasanul Qaiyum of the Manabzamin, Ahad Haider of the Prothom Alo, Rob Molla of the Janmabhumi, Babul Sarder of the Janakantha, Nihar Saha of News Network of Bangladesh (NNB), Zakaria Mahmud of the Amar Desh and Azadul Huq of the Sangbad, received separate letters that threatened to attack the journalists and bomb their workplaces if they did not cooperate.

Babul Sarder, general secretary of Bagerhat Press Club, filed a complaint and asked Bagerhat police for protection.

In another case, Rifat Bin Taha, journalist at Dainik Janakantha, received a verbal death threat for a report he published on militants in Norail, southwest Bangledesh.

Bin Taha and his family were threatened by the brother-in-law of a prominent MP, Mufti Imranuzzaman, on August 28. Imranuzzaman allegedly threatened to kill Bin Taha and his family if a retraction was not published within 24 hours.

The IFJ condemns any actions that threaten the independence and freedom of the media.

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries.

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