Criminal group threatens crime reporter in Bangladesh

A telephone caller claiming to represent a wanted criminal overseas threatened to kill a senior crime reporter in July 2011 for writing about the drug trade, local news reports and a human rights advocate said. 

Jahangir Alam, who heads the crime department at the United News of Bangladesh news agency and is an executive member of the Crime Reporters Association of Bangladesh (CRAB), received the call in the country’s capital, Dhaka, on July 13, 2011, according to the reports.

The caller introduced himself as an associate of Subrata Bayeen, a high-profile criminal wanted on charges of terrorism and drug possession, and threatened to shoot the journalist. Bayeen is believed to have fled the country to escape arrest, news reports said.

“Alam recently wrote a number of stories regarding illegal drug trades and criminal activities, mentioning the involvement of associates of Subrata Bayeen,” Shahanur Islam, executive director of the Bangladesh Institute for Human Rights (BIHR) told CPJ by email. Alam reported the threat to the police but they took no action to identify the caller, Islam told CPJ. Both BIHR and CRAB expressed concern at the lack of police action to trace the threat and protect the journalist.