Bangladeshi journalist killed after covering local drug trade

New York, May 23, 2014–Bangladeshi authorities should conduct an efficient investigation into the murder of a local journalist and ensure the killers are held to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Sadrul Alam Nipul was a reporter for the local Bengali-language daily Dainik Mathabhanga.

Nipul’s dismembered body was found on Wednesday at a railway station in the southwestern district of Chuadanga, which borders India, according to news reports. His family told journalists he had left his house on Tuesday night after receiving a phone call and did not return home that night.

Nipul’s family, including his wife, mother, and brother, said they believed this was a premeditated murder, according to news reports. Nipul’s brother, Bakul, said that local drug traffickers were responsible for the journalist’s death, reports said.

Prior to his death, Nipul had written stories on local drug trafficking, according to news reports. The journalist’s family said he had received death threats from local drug traffickers and groups who he had accused in his reports of attempting to illegally seize homes and other property, the reports said.

Police said they were investigating the murder, according to news reports.

Journalists covering drug trafficking in the Chuadanga region have been targeted in recent years, according to CPJ research. In 2006, assailants hurled bombs at two journalists reporting on drug trafficking in the region, according to reports. Both journalists underwent surgery. More recently, in 2012, Jamal Uddin, a reporter for the Bengali-language daily Gramer Kagoj, was murdered in direct relation to his reports on the local drug trade. CPJ research shows that 71 percent of journalists killed in Bangladesh covered crime.

“We are pleased that Bangladeshi authorities are investigating this case, but past efforts inspire little confidence,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Bob Dietz. “Journalists reporting on sensitive stories are at high risk in Bangladesh, and authorities have done little to address anti-press violence in the country. This needs to change, and those responsible for Sadrul Alam Nipul’s murder must be brought to justice.”

Bangladesh was named on CPJ’s most recent Risk List, which highlights countries where press freedom is on the decline.