Journalists boycott health ministry’s briefing

Publish: 9:20 PM, May 18, 2021 | Update: 9:20:PM, May 18, 2021

Shafiqul Islam
The Bangladesh Secretariat Reporters Forum (BSRF) and the Bangladesh Health Reporters Forum (BHRF) have boycotted yesterday a press conference at the Ministry of Health to protest the harassment and arrest of Rozina Islam, a senior reporter at the daily Prothom Alo. Shamim Ahmed, general secretary of BSRF, an organization of journalists working in the secretariat, announced the boycott of the press conference. Earlier, journalists attended the press conference.

Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Kazi Jebunnesa Begum and several other officials sat in the Secretariat to address the press conference. BSRF general secretary Shamim Ahmed said that, the journalists were boycotting the press conference to protest of the harassment of journalist Rozina Islam. He said that while harassing Rozina Islam on Monday, the journalists repeatedly tried to take the statement of the secretary of the health department. But he did not make any statement.

After Shamim Ahmed’s announcement, the journalists present in the meeting room left at once. Besides, the next program of BSRF will be announced from emergency meeting of the executive committee, said BSRF secretary. Rozina Islam is a member of BSRF.

Rozina Islam, a senior reporter of Prothom Alo, was detained for more than five hours when she went to the health ministry on Monday (May 17) to perform her professional duties. At one point she fell ill. Police took her to Shahbagh police station around 8.30 pm. According to the police, a case has been filed against Rozina Islam under the Official Secrets Act.

She has been shown arrested in the case.
Journalists protested in front of the Secretariat in the afternoon and in front of the Shahbagh Police Station at night. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Amnesty International, South Asian Women in Media (SAWM), University Teachers Association of Bangladesh (UTAB), Ziaur Rahman Foundation (ZRF) and various local and foreign organizations condemned the statement. Besides, different political parties, people of different levels including journalists are protesting the incident through social media.