Journalism has always been a challenging profession. Journalists around the world every year face backlashes and torture. Sometimes, they are even killed for reporting or writing something that expose crooked persons. However, it necessarily will not stop journalists from doing what they are meant to do.
The recent incident of journalist Golam Sarwar of Chattogram has left another scar. Four days after he went missing, he was found lying unconscious with bruises all over his body on a street in Kumira ghat area of Chattogram's Sitakunda on Sunday evening.
When he came to his senses, the traumatised journalist was begging people there saying, "Bhai, please do not beat me, please, please, please; I will not write news anymore. I will quit journalism."
Sarwar went missing five days after he wrote a report on land grabbing by an influential local person. He had also reported on some other crimes including illegal gambling.
According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an independent NGO based in Paris, many journalists like Sarwar had to go through torture, harassment and imprisonment for reporting something that went against influential persons.
Md Iliyas Hossain, a correspondent of a local daily in Narayanganj, was hacked to death by miscreants in Geodhara Bazar area in the district's Bandar upazila on 12 October. He had written about the criminal activities of local gangsters, especially drug dealing and the illegal gas connections.
According to media reports, on 1 April, 2020, three journalists -- Shah Sultan Ahmed (Dainik Protidiner Sangbad's correspondent), Mujibur Rahman (Dainik Amar Sangbad's correspondent) and Bulbul Ahmed (Private TV Channel-S's correspondent) -- had been assaulted by a representative of the local government in Nabiganj upazila of Habiganj district.
On 4 July, Daily Samakal reporter Shariful Alam Chowdhury was severely beaten by ten thugs armed with steel bars in Muradnagar, on the outskirts of Cumilla.
Shariful wrote about the alleged corruptions and nepotism of a local official, according to Reporters Without Borders.
On 18 December in 2019, Shelu Akondo, a correspondent of a Jamalpur daily and also a reporter of Daily Polly Kontho Protidin, was reportedly assaulted by a local Bangladesh Chhatra League leader in Dewanpara area of the district.
Shelu had been investigating the activities of Hasanuzzaman Khan, a ward councilor of Jamalpur City Corporation, and his uncle Rakib Khan. He was supposed to testify as a witness in a court against them in the case over allegedly beating Mustafa Monju, Kaler Kantho's Jamalpur correspondent, on 26 May, 2019.
Ariful Islam, correspondent of the Dhaka Tribune, was arrested on 14 March this year on the allegation of possessing narcotics. He was sentenced to one-year of imprisonment. Later, he got bail and then filed a case alleging that he was tortured after his arrest for exposing alleged corruptions of the Deputy Commissioner of Kurigram district.
Faridul Mostafa, editor of a local newspaper named the Cox's Bazar Bani and also of a news portal Janatar Bani, was in Cox's Bazar prison for 11 months and five days for writing and publishing reports on local government employees' corruptions linked to the region's drug trafficking.
The infamous former OC Pradeep, the prime accused in Major Sinha murder case, had filed three complaints accusing Faridul of extortion. Faridul was arrested after he fled to Dhaka.
Mostafa's wife said he was brutally tortured even before being produced before the court, according to Reporters Without Borders. Mostafa was finally released on bail from Cox's Bazar prison on 27 August, 2020.
According to RSF and Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), another nonprofit organisation that promotes press freedom worldwide, 22 incidents of killing journalists in different countries have been officially recorded only in 2020.