Bangladeshi journalist assaulted during press conference in New York

September 22, 2021

Bangladeshi journalist Farid Alam was physically attacked by individuals while at a press conference for the country’s ruling party, the Awami League, in New York City, New York, on Sept. 22, 2021.

Alam, the executive editor of News Communications Network, attended a news conference hosted by U.S.-based Awami League members, where Bangladesh Parliament member Abdus Sobhan Golap gave a briefing on the United Nations General Assembly.

Alam told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker that he asked the party leaders about the large delegation that accompanied Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to the General Assembly.

“I asked why they had 141 members in their delegation during a pandemic and why they had chartered a plane. They weren’t happy with my question and attacked me,” Alam told the Tracker.

A video posted to Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists’ Facebook page shows the Awami League members sitting on a stage, addressing Alam’s questions before individuals in the crowd begin shouting and confronting Alam.

When asked to translate the video, Alam said he was told he wasn’t allowed to ask questions. “I told them they held a press conference to answer questions. Then they started threatening me,” Alam said.

The video shows individuals rushing and grabbing at Alam from several directions. He said journalists around him quickly formed a circle in protection.

“They attacked me, kicking me multiple times, punching me,” Alam said. He said one man attempted to snatch his cell phone away and two people stole his wallet amid the struggle.

Alam said he was taken to Elmhurst hospital in Queens and treated for his injuries. Alam's son confirmed that he reported the assault to a New York Police Department detective but has not received an update on the case.

The following day, New York-based Bangladeshi journalists held a protest condemning Alam’s assault and announced a boycott against Awami League sponsored events at Diversity Plaza in Jackson Heights, Queens, a borough of New York City.

The USA Awami League could not be reached for comment.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]

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