Posted October 17, 2005

Abu Ahmed, The Daily StarKalyan Banerjee, Prothom Alo
Ramkrishna Chakraborty, Samakal
Mizanur Rahman, JanakanthaSubas Chowdhury, JugantorYarab Hossain, RunnerKali Das Karmakar, Janata
Abul Kalam Azad, PatradutRaghunath Kha, Janmabhumi.

Pieces of white cloth symbolizing a funeral shroud were mailed to these journalists in the city of Satkhira on September 4 along with letters 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 the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in parliament. Local press reports said the letter warned the journalists not to write about the militants’ activities and threatened to kill Hindus reporting on Islamic groups.

Bangla Bhai and Ahle Hadith are accused by authorities of masterminding a wave of more than 400 simultaneous bombings across the country on August 17. The explosions were small and caused few injuries but the scale of the planning and coordination behind the blasts dealt a major psychological blow to the country, journalists told CPJ. The bombers targeted government offices, airports, universities and at least seven press clubs.

Despite long standing denials from government officials, Islamic militant activity in Bangladesh is on the rise, and journalists reporting on the trend are increasingly at risk. The government has previously accused journalists of inventing stories about militant groups, but newspapers investigations over the last two years have uncovered connections between outlawed groups and al-Qaeda, according to The Daily Star.