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Of Newsmen and Death


Media people in Khulna continue to be in grave danger. The latest on this front is that three newsmen have in the past few days been threatened with death. Of the three, one happens to be the president of the Khulna press club. A potent reason why such threats can no more be dismissed as without basis or without the capability of being given practical shape is our memory of how three journalists were earlier murdered in the region in the space of fourteen months. Given that kind of reality, it does make enormous sense to ask what security measures have been put in place to protect the media in Khulna.
Broadly speaking, though, the media have been under threat everywhere in the country. If it is not armed goons promising to put their lives to an end, it is political activists or even leaders who remain ready to have editors, reporters and publishers hauled away to prison on charges that do not warrant such behaviour on the part of the offended. Then there are the local hooligans in particular areas who have generally taken umbrage at some report or the other and have therefore compelled young reporters to flee for their lives. Police officers have taken inordinate pleasure in harassing newsmen through hurling verbal abuse at them or pursuing them out of their assigned places of duty. While all this has gone on, ministers have as a matter of routine accused the media of tarnishing the national image through their negative reports.
And that is the picture. Can one do anything to change the colour pattern there?