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Bangladesh 6 April 2004

Journalist badly wounded in murder attempt

A journalist was seriously wounded in the head and back after two unidentified youths fired several shots at him in a dangerous southern district of the capital Dacca.

Condemning the attack on Delwar Hossain, Reporters Without Borders said, "as long as local gangsters can operate with complete impunity and only the media has the courage to expose them, the life of journalists in Bangladesh will always be in danger".

"Unless the government acts firmly now the situation can only worsen," the international press freedom organisation added.

Hossain, corespondent in Keraniganj for the daily Jugantor was talking to a salesman at the advertising agency Cimax Sign, on 4 April when two adolescents came in, witnesses said. The youths checked the journalist’s identity and then fired several shots at him before fleeing.

After surgery and 24 hours in intensive care, doctors at Dacca hospital said that Hossain was out of danger.

The following day, Hossain said he had been targeted after publication of one of his articles that condemned the murder of a businessman by local gangsters, in this case by a gang known as "Five Star". Hossain said he had received death threats from the same gang shortly before the shooting.

Keraniganj district covered by the journalist is considered a high risk area. Murder, extortion, robbery and rape are daily occurrences. The local press club demonstrated on 5 April to demand the immediate arrest of those responsible for the attack.




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