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Journalists Protest Machete Attack in Bangladesh

  • VOA News

A screen grab from BDNews24.com, May 29, 2012.

A screen grab from BDNews24.com, May 29, 2012.

Hundreds of journalists in Bangladesh are protesting an attack on their colleagues at one of the country's leading online news outlets.

A group of men wielding machetes broke into the offices of bdnews24.com in the capital late Monday, seriously wounding at least two people and slashing other staff members. A photograph of the scene of the attack posted on the outlet's website shows blood splattered all over the floor.

About 300 journalists gathered outside the Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka on Tuesday, demanding the immediate arrest and punishment of the attackers. The demonstration disrupted traffic in the capital.

So far, authorities have arrested at least one suspect in connection with the violence.

The Asian Human Rights Commission issued a statement Tuesday, accusing the government of not being able to "protect anyone."

The rights group said the attack on bdnews24.com was the latest in a series of attacks on journalists in the last month. The group also said there are allegations that both state and non-state agents target journalists "almost regularly" and that the attacks amount to a "serious blow against the freedom of expression in Bangladesh."

Speaking recently to VOA's Bangla Service, Bob Dietz, the Asia coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said his group believes the policy of Bangladesh's government and the larger political culture of the country are "very anti-media." He said journalists are very often threatened and there is a high degree of impunity when they are attacked.
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