New York, February 22, 2021 — Bangladeshi authorities must swiftly identify the killers of journalist Borhan Uddin Muzakkir and hold them to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
On February 19, in the Companiganj area of Bangladesh’s southern Noakhali district, police and armed demonstrators opened fire during clashes in the street between two factions of the ruling Awami League party, each of which is seeking power in the Companiganj area, according to the Daily Star. At least nine people were shot at the demonstration, according to that report.
A bullet from an unidentified shooter hit Muzakkir, a reporter covering the clashes for the news website Barta Bazar and the newspaper Bangladesh Samachar, in the throat, according to news reports. He died of his injuries the following evening, according to those reports.
“We are extremely saddened by the death of journalist Borhan Uddin Muzakkir, who was shot while working to bring Bangladeshis vital information about politics in their country,” said Aliya Iftikhar, CPJ’s senior Asia researcher. “Bangladeshi authorities must swiftly investigate Muzakkir’s shooting and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Muzakkir was initially taken to the Noakhali General Hospital, before being transferred to the intensive care unit at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, where he died at about 10:45 p.m. on February 20, according to those reports.
According to the Daily Star, police fired blanks and aimed at the sky to quell the protest, but also “fired 10-12 bullets to disperse the clashing groups.”
CPJ emailed the Bangladeshi police for comment but did not receive any immediate response.
Barta Bazar did not immediately reply to CPJ’s request for comment via messaging app. CPJ was unable to find contact information for Bangladesh Samachar.
In the past year, journalists in Bangladesh have faced physical attacks, legal actions, and imprisonment, according to CPJ research.