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An attack on freedom

  • Published at 08:50 pm August 5th, 2018
Press freedom
Photo: Bigstock

There must be zero tolerance for those who commit physical violence, on journalists or otherwise

At least two dozen journalists have come under attack from ruling party cadres over the past two days as they have tried to cover the student protests throughout the city.

These attacks are totally unacceptable, and there can be no justification for these often vicious assaults.

The only reason to physically target the press is to try to get them to stop recording what you are doing -- which only serves to underline their other acts of violence over the past 48 hours. 

Journalists are the eyes and ears of any nation, who are willingly putting themselves in harm’s way so that they can provide the people with the truth.

Indeed, in these tense times, the Bangladeshi media has provided an invaluable service to the nation by calmly reporting the news and dispelling the rumours which have been spreading like wild-fire, threatening to stoke passions and incite further unrest and instability. The media coverage has been responsible and restrained, and gone a long way to ensure that tempers have not risen to a boiling point.

There is absolutely no excuse for ruling party cadres or anyone else (and there have been reports of at least one attack on media by protesters, which is equally to be condemned) to assault journalists or harm them in any way.

This is a clear attempt to intimidate and silence the press, and it cannot be allowed to stand.

It also begs the question as to why the ruling party’s student wing is out on the streets, assaulting not only journalists but also protesters and even bystanders who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Ruling party cadres have no business patrolling streets -- this is strictly a job for law enforcement officers.

There must be zero tolerance for those who commit physical violence, on journalists or otherwise, and these all those guilty need to be stopped and brought to book.

There must be consequences for this kind of criminality.

Freedom of the press is an essential tenet of democracy, and to allow and accept violence carried out on the press makes a mockery of ours.