Manik Saha

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An excerpt from Marked for Death: Dying for the Story in the World’s Most Dangerous Places, by Terry Gould:

At first glance there is nothing particularly threatening about Khulna. Like most regional capitals in Bangladesh, it is hot and crowded, but its remote location in the waterlogged southwest has preserved its rural nature. Around Khan J. Ali traffic circle, bicycle rickshaws outnumber cars a hundred to one. Down the palm-lined lanes where a million people live, roosters crow from every backyard. And the city air, even near the jute mills and brick kilns, smells like tropical heaven.

CPJ's Impunity Index ranks countries where killers of journalists go free

New York, April 30, 2008 -- Democracies from Colombia to India and Russia to the Philippines are among the worst countries in the world at prosecuting journalists' killers according to the Impunity Index, a list of countries compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists where governments have consistently failed to solve journalists' murders.


BANGLADESH

Rioting kicked off a three-month electoral season in October as the ruling Bangladesh National Party (BNP) was accused of bias in the installation of an interim government and election commissioner. Fears of physical attacks against a politically divided press corps deepened along with the political crisis, as leaders of the rival Awami League threatened to boycott the general election scheduled for January 2007. Journalists were tasked with covering a time of great uncertainty: President Iajuddin Ahmed, formerly a ceremonial head, installed himself as chief of a caretaker government and warned that the military could be brought in to quell violence.
December 15, 2006

Dr. Iajuddin Ahmed
President, People's Republic of Bangladesh
Chief Advisor to the Government of Bangladesh
Bangabhaban, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Via facsimile: 88-2-9566242


Your Excellency:

The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about threats and attacks against journalists in the run-up to general elections scheduled for January 23, 2007. We urge you to do everything in your power as leader of the interim government to ensure that assaults on the press are adequately investigated and punished, and that journalists are free to report on the election campaign without fear of retribution.
By Mathew Hansen

Hundreds of journalists have been killed over 15 years, many on the orders of government officials. Few cases are ever solved. In the Fall/Winter 2006 edition of Dangerous Assignments

BANGLADESH

Bangladesh was mired in a political crisis heightened by the wide-scale August 17 attacks by Islamic militants involving hundreds of small, near-simultaneous bombings throughout the nation. Journalists covering the bombings and their aftermath said they were more vulnerable than ever to violent reprisals.

Bangladesh was already one of the most dangerous countries for the press in Asia, according to CPJ research. Even by that poor standard, death threats and physical attacks against journalists spiked in 2005. Traditional enemies of the press such as criminal gangs, underground leftist groups, police, politicians, and student activists continued to lash out at journalists. The newer and potentially graver threat from radical Islamist groups exacerbated the treacherous landscape.
JULY 25, 2005
Posted: August 3, 2005

Munshi Abu Tayeb
, Dainik LokshamajTHREATENED

The Khulna bureau chief for the Dainik Lokshamaj, a daily newspaper based in the southwestern district of Jessore, received death threats from members of the underground Islamic militant Jihadi Party.
The Five Most Murderous Countries for Journalists
Your Excellency:

One year after the Committee to Protect Journalists conducted a fact-finding mission to Bangladesh in response to a pattern of violence against the press, death threats and deadly attacks against journalists continue at an alarming rate. You offered assurances last year that the press in Bangladesh "enjoys full press freedom," but that freedom is at great risk today. We are deeply concerned about this press freedom crisis, and join with our Bangladeshi colleagues in calling for swift and decisive action to stanch this relentless tide of violence against journalists.
Overview
by Abi Wright

Threats to press freedom spiked throughout Asia in 2004, even as the news media claimed significant accomplishments. Across the region, 2004 was an election year, with citizens casting ballots in nations such as Afghanistan, whose landmark vote was peaceful and orderly, and India, where more than 370 million went to the polls. Informing voters and guarding against abuses, the press was credited with playing key roles in these and other elections.

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