The International Press Institute (IPI), a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists for press freedom, today called on the government of Bangladesh to investigate the disappearance of Shafiqul Islam Kajol, photojournalist and the editor of the Pakkhakal magazine.
Kajol, a Dhaka-based journalist, was reported missing on March 10 and has not been seen since. On the day of his disappearance, Kajol, according to news reports, left home for his office. He was last seen leaving his office on his motorbike around 7 pm.
Kajol’s family members have approached the police several times, but the police have been unwilling to investigate the disappearance. The family suspects that Kajol might be a victim of enforced disappearance.
According to news reports, Kajol’s disappearance came just one day after he and 31 other journalists were named in a criminal defamation complaint under the draconian “Digital Security Act”. The defamation complaint against the journalists was filed by Saifuzzaman Shikhor, a member of the Bangladeshi parliament’s ruling Awami League. The case was filed for publishing a news article on the basis of “false information” and sharing it on social media.
“The reluctance of the police to investigate the disappearance of Shafiqul Islam Kajol is extremely disturbing”, IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said. “The government should order the police to take up the investigation immediately and if the journalist has been taken into custody he should be produced before the court.”
Colleagues have showed their support by forming a human chain with Kajol’s family members and friends and demanding the authorities to find Kajol.