Bangladeshi Journalist Beaten To death After Reporting On Politician
A group of 15 to 20 men have beaten to death Bangladeshi journalist Golam Rabbani Nadim in what appears to be a retaliation for his reporting about a local politician who allegedly orchestrated the attack, according to The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
The press freedom watchdog cited a witness who said that Nadim, a correspondent for the website Banglanews24 and broadcaster Ekattor TV, was assaulted by the group last week while riding his motorcycle in the Bakshiganj area of the Jamalpur district.
Security footage allegedly obtained by Ekattor TV shows that the men dragged Nadim to a dark alleyway, where they beat him severely, leaving him unconscious. He later died in hospital.
Nadim’s family believes he was targeted in retaliation for his May 2023 series of reports for Banglanews24 about Mahmudul Alam Babu, chair of a local government unit and member of the ruling Awami League party. Babu denied any involvement in the attack.
According to the colleague of Nadim who was present at the attack, Babu was at the scene, seemingly orchestrating the attack from a distance.
Nadim's articles delved into allegations against Babu, including claims of a secret marriage, domestic abuse, and subsequent divorce. In response, Babu filed a complaint against Nadim under the Digital Security Act in mid-May.
However, shortly before the attack, Nadim took to Facebook to inform his followers that the case had been dismissed by the court.
“Golam Rabbani Nadeem’s shocking murder cannot remain unpunished. We call on the Bangladeshi prosecutor’s office to do whatever is needed to identify all of those involved and bring them to trial, especially the instigator, whose identity is not a mystery,” Daniel Bastard said, Head of the Asia-Pacific desk of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said.
The RSF urged Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government to draft legislation to protect news providers in response to the increase in violence against journalists.
According to the Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star, “Nadim made a complaint to Bakshiganj Police Station in Jamalpur over two months ago mentioning that he was in constant fear of attack. But police neither recorded the complaint nor did anything to ensure his safety”.
Banglanews24 reported on Monday that “Babu was apprehended by the Rapid Action Battalion on Saturday while hiding in a relative's home in Panchagarh. Following his arrest, he was handed over to the police in Jamalpur for further custody.”
Additionally, thirteen individuals were apprehended by the police in connection with the incident, and nine of them were detained for questioning.
The RSF said that attacks against journalists have been frequently planned by local officials connected to the ruling Awami League.
In February, RSF raised concern after identifying at least seven instances of violence against journalists in less than two months.
According to the 2023 World Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders, which analyzes the environment for journalism in 180 countries and territories, Bangladesh is ranked 163 in the index.