Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and rights groups have called on Bangladesh to “stop harassing” Prothom Alo journalist Rozina Islam in a public letter issued yesterday.
The public letter was sent to Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, and Health Minister Zahid Maleque.
The letter was published on the website of CPJ, and it reads: “We, the undersigned press freedom and human rights groups, write to seek your leadership in ensuring an immediate end to the harassment of Bangladeshi journalist and human rights defender Rozina Islam.”
“Islam’s work, for which she received the United States Department of State’s Anti-Corruption Champions Award in 2022, is a public service, not a crime, and should be protected under Sections 4 and 5 of the Disclosure of Public Interest Information (Protection) Act,” the letter adds.
The public letter urged the authority of Bangladesh to respect and protect the journalist’s human rights, saying, “We urge the authorities to fully respect and protect the human rights of journalist and human rights defender Rozina Islam, including her right to a fair trial, and to immediately cease all forms of judicial harassment against her, facilitating the return of her passport from judicial custody, and ensuring that she is not subjected to further retaliation for her work.”
The organizations that signed the public letter include Amnesty International, Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network, Capital Punishment Justice Project, Coalition For Women In Journalism, Committee to Protect Journalists, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma Free Media Movement, Front Line Defenders, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), International Federation of Journalists, International Women’s Media Foundation, Overseas Press Club of America, Pakistan Press Foundation, PEN America, PEN Bangladesh, PEN International, Reporters Without Borders, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, South Asian Journalists Association, and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT).