Bangladesh v Australia, 2nd Test, Chittagong, 1st day April 16, 2006

Media protests assault on photographer

Cricinfo staff

The police get violent on a photographer during protests at Chittagong © Getty Images

The local media at the Chittagong Divisional Stadium staged a walkout to protest against what they perceived was high-handed treatment by the police on the opening day of the second Test. The trouble started when Shamsul Haque Tanku, a photographer with Bengali daily Protham Alo, was allegedly not allowed to have his taxi drop him in the parking area. Tanku later told AFP that the police denied the vehicle entry despite the fact that he had a valid parking pass, and instead assaulted him.

The start of play was delayed as the local photographers and reporters staged a protest next to the pitch. They finally moved after a request from Jeff Crowe, the match referee, and assurances from the Bangladesh board and senior police officials, but trouble started again when journalists who protested to the police about the incident were beaten up. The incidents caused the resumption in play after lunch to be delayed as well.

"It is a really sad episode as Tanku is a respected and award-winning photographer," Syed Mohammad Mamoon, secretary of the Bangladesh Sports Journalists' Association (BSJA), was quoted as saying by AFP. "We have demanded that the police officials responsible for the episodes be suspended and have been assured of the same," said Sayeed Uzzman, an executive committee member of the BSJA.

Crowe slammed the incident and called for tighter security at grounds. "I guess you could say it's a black mark against Chittagong, the venue here and obviously to the security," Crowe told the The Age, a Melbourne-based daily. "We'll obviously ask for security people to make sure these areas [in the players' stand] are controlled much more strongly ... because you'd hate to see the scuffling that was going on around the place to enter the environment of the players' area. It was pretty unnerving for the umpires not knowing what was going on."

Majeedul Haq, the Chittagong police chief, however blamed the media for the incidents. "The first incident occured after the photographer refused to show his identity card and an argument ensued," he said. "The second time, a group of journalists and photographers attacked two of our senior police officials and our personnel retaliated."

For much of the day, the media box wore an empty look as the local reporter stayed away, while most of the photographers were absent as well.