Within hours of Associated Press Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt’s call for an international effort to stop the killing of journalists, a blogger was murdered in the streets of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.
According to Yahoo News writer Shafiqul Alam, three men set upon blogger Washiqur Rahman and hacked him to death with knives on Monday. Police reportedly have two men, both of whom are students at nearby madrassas, in custody; both men were armed with meat cleavers, according to BBC News. A third man escaped the scene of the crime.
Rahman was not a full-time blogger or professional journalist, but rather worked as IT manager at a travel agency, according to The Guardian. He did not use his blog to focus on Islam, but he often used a separate Facebook page to post stories by other writers that were critical of Islamic fundamentalism.
This is the second murder of a secular blogger in Bangladesh over the last two months. In February, Avijit Roy, an American blogger whose family came from Bangladesh and who was a prominent atheist writer and supporter of an independent press, was also hacked to death in Dhaka. Police described the main suspect in Roy’s murder as a “fundamentalist blogger.” According to the Committee to Project Journalists, Roy became the 15th journalist murdered in Bangladesh since 1992.
Imran Sarker, the leader of a Bangladeshi network of bloggers, claimed that the assailants were encouraged to kill Rahman because “we have a culture of impunity here.” This remark echoed Pruitt’s speech at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong, in which he declared, “The single most treacherous threat to journalists is killing with impunity.”