Journalists hold token hunger strikeStaff Correspondent
Journalists will hold a rally in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka on March 18 to press home their demands including proper investigation and trial of the murders of the journalist couple Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi.
Massranga Television news editor Golam Mustofa Sarwar, also known as Sagar Sarowar, and his wife ATN Bangla reporter Menerun Nahar Runi, also known as Meherun Runi, were murdered in their their rented house at Pashchim Rajabazar in the capital on February 11.
Rallies will also be held at press clubs and offices of
journalists’ unions in districts in March 2–15 which central leaders will attend.
The president of a faction of the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists, Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, announced the fresh programmes after a six-hour token hunger strike at the National Press Club on Wednesday.
Addressing the programme, organised by all factions of the BFUJ and the Dhaka Union of journalists, the National Press Club and Dhaka Reporters’ Unity, the journalist leaders criticised a High Court ruling involving the media in connection with reports on the murders of the journalist couple.
They said that journalists could not accept the directive the High Court on Tuesday issued to the information secretary as it might hamper the freedom of the media.
They also urged immediate reunification of the journalists’ unions, including the Dhaka Union of Journalists and the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists.
Similar protests were also held at all press clubs across the country.
Addressing the hunger strike at the National Press Club, Iqbal Sobhan said that the journalists had always advocated the independence of the judiciary and struggled for the freedom of the media.
He said, ‘We have always fought for the independence of the judiciary but we cannot accept any court ruling that may curtail the freedom of the media. We are ready to face contempt of court charges for violating such rulings.’
He sought the intervention of the chief justice so that the media and the judiciary might not face off for such ‘unacceptable’ rulings.
He said that the journalist leaders would participate in rallies of journalists across the country till March 15 and encourage and mobilise journalists to come under a single union and to press home their demands.
If the demands are not fulfilled by the time, they will hold a grand rally of journalists in Dhaka on March 18, he said.
The president of the other faction of the BFUJ, Ruhul Amin Gazi, said that the journalists would not reject any move to hinder the freedom of the press.
He said that the journalists would not accept any move to stage any Jaj Mia drama by the police.
He said that the home minister should have resigned 48 hours after the murders as she had given the police the time to arrest the killers. He said that the police were telling different stories about the murders to hide their failures.
Former BFUJ president Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul said that if the government and the law enforcement agencies would fail to submit an acceptable, impartial report on the murders, the media would investigate the matter to find out the killers by setting up an investigation committee.
A BFUJ faction secretary general, Abdul Jalil Bhuiyan, stressed the need for unity among the journalists to have their demands met.
The secretary general in-charge of the other BFUJ faction, M Abdullah, doubted whether the killers would at all be arrested.
Columnist Syed Abul Maqsud alleged that the police were trying to suppress the truth instead of making any progress in the investigation.
Former BFUJ secretary generals Altaf Mahmud and MA Aziz, presidents of two factions of Dhaka Union of Journalists Abdus Shahid and Omor Faruque and general secretaries Baker Hossain and Shaban Mahmud also addressed the rally.
The National Press Club president, Kamal Uddin Sobuj, and the general secretary, Syed Abdal Ahmed, the Dhaka Reporter’s Unity president, Shakhawak Hossain Badshah, and the general secretary, Sajjad Alam Tapu, also spoke.
They said that the journalists would not call off their movement until the killers of the journalists were punished.
Different organisations of journalists, including the Dhaka Sub-Editors’ Council, the Bangladesh Photojournalists’ Association, the Law Reporters’ Forum, the Capital Market Journalists’ Union, Bangladesh Nari Sangbadik Kendra and the TV Camera Journalists’ Association also expressed their solidarity with the programme.
Reports received from the districts said journalists observed the token hunger strike in almost all the district including Sylhet, Chittagong, Khulna, Barisal, Rangpur, Netrakona, Pirojpur, Rangamati, Jessore, Faridpur, Jaipurhat, Gopalganj, Bagerhat, Sunamganj, Bandarban and Gaibandha.
According to media reports, 25 journalists were killed in 10 years and 14 of them were killed during the tenure of the Awami League-led government.
No trial of any such cases has been completed in 12 years although the ruling Awami League had an election pledge to complete the trial of the killings of journalists, according to reports.
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