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After latest incidents in Bangladesh, concern over worsening safety conditions for journalists

On August 20, 2014, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Bangladesh Manobodhikari Sambadhik Forum (BMSF) strongly condemned an attack this week on a senior journalist in Barisal city amid a climate of declining safety for media workers in Bangladesh.

Pulack Chatterjee, the 44-year-old bureau chief of Daily Samakal and secretary of Barisal Press Club, was attacked with sharp weapons by three attackers as he returned home from work at midnight of August 18. The miscreants fled the scene, though one was later detained by police.

Chatterjee sustained injuries to his head and body and was rushed to Barisal Sher-e-Bengali Medical College Hospital. He is said to be out of danger. Police reported to the media that the incident might have occurred over family disputes.

Meanwhile, Shafiur Rahman Farabi, also known by his alias 'Extremist Farabi', issued a death threat through Facebook to Noeem Nizam, the editor of news daily Pratidin in Dhaka. The threat was issued in response to the publication of articles written by exiled feminist writer Taslima Nasreen.

Police launched a manhunt to arrest the suspect after the editor filed a complaint. Farabi was previously arrested on February 25, 2013 for issuing a threat to the Imam who anchored the final rites of blogger Rajib who was killed by an Islamic extremist. He was released on temporary bail.

The IFJ and the BMSF condemn the incidents and have urged the Bangladeshi government to launch thorough investigations into all matters.

Jane Worthington, the IFJ Asia Pacific deputy director, said: "The security situation for journalists in recent months has deteriorated in Bangladesh and in this light we call on the Bangladesh government to ensure journalists' rights are rigorously defended. The growing number of attacks and threats highlights to volatile environment for journalists in Bangladesh."

"We urge the Bangladesh government to probe into these cases with a thorough investigation; and they also must work to ensure a safe and secure environment for journalists in Bangladesh."

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