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Failure to solve past journalist murders hinders future press freedom development, says IPI

With 16 unsolved killings since 1998, impunity overshadows any progress in free media development

(IPI/IFEX) - VIENNA, 8 December - During a 1-6 December 2009 press freedom mission to Bangladesh, the International Press Institute (IPI) found that there had been no discernible efforts to bring to justice the killers of the 16 journalists murdered since 1998, political influence over the media remained significant and the legal framework within which the media operates was in need of reform.

IPI last visited Bangladesh from 27 November to 2 December, 2008, shortly before general elections which brought back the Awami League party, headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, to power.

IPI's latest mission offered an opportunity to undertake a first assessment of the sitting, elected government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, as opposed to the interim government that preceded it.

Over the last year there has been some progress on the media freedom front.

A state of emergency in force for two years was lifted in December 2008, ahead of the general election. In July, a right to Information Act was enacted, and under Article 15(1) of the Act a three-member Information Commission was created. Government officials have manifested a willingness to engage with IPI on matters related to press freedom.

However, distinct areas of concern remain.

Click here to read the complete text of the mission report

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