Bangladeshi journalists observes pen-down strike to demand arrest of colleagues' murderers

Journalists across Bangladesh observed Monday afternoon a one-hour pen-down strike in their respective newspapers, news agencies, televisions, radios and online media to demand the arrest of the killers of a journalist couple who were murdered two weeks ago.

The token pend-down strike started at 12:00 noon and ended after at 1:00 p.m. local time.

Journalist unions in Bangladesh announced the plan last week to press the authorities to arrest the killers of Meherun Runi, senior reporter of ATN Bangla television, and her husband Sagar Sarowar, news editor of Maasranga Television, who were killed at home on Feb. 11.

During the hour-long pen-down strike, many journalists wore black badges and ribbons.

Most TV news channels at their scrolling texts at the top or bottom of the screen wrote that they express solidarity with the one-hour pen-down strike while rebroadcasting old shows and suspending many scheduled live programs.

During the strike hour, most Bangla and English newspapers and agencies did not upload any new news item.

Leaders of Bangladesh’s journalist unions said they would continue to protest the delay in police investigation and the law enforcers’ inability to unearth the motive of the killing and to arrest those behind the killing.

The unions announced a countrywide mass hunger strike on March 1 from 10: a.m. to 4:00 p.m. local time if the killers were not arrested by then.

However, law enforcers claimed Sunday that after more than two weeks of frantic efforts, investigators have managed to unearth the motive behind the murder of the journalist couple.

“We’re almost certain about the motive behind the murder, but it will not be wise to disclose it at this moment for the sake of investigation,” Monirul Islam, a deputy commissioner of Bangladesh Police’s Detective Branch, told reporters Sunday.

It seems that Bangladesh’s journalists are not convinced by any more assurance of the law enforcing agencies as they could not name or arrest any suspect weeks after the twin murder although home minister said culprits would to be arrested within a 48-hour period.

While offering condolences to the bereaved families, Bangladeshi Home Minister Shahara Khatun had said she ordered the police to search out and arrest the killers within 48 hours but she said on Tuesday it was only a ploy to instill urgency in the investigation into the murder.