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Bulletin : Published
Saturday, January 11, 2003
Subject: Bagladesh Victim of Media Terrorism
"the reports against Bangladesh are mostly because we have a Muslim majority population, he termed the attitude as ‘Islam bashing’ more than Bangladesh bashing." Morshed
Bangladesh victim of ill propaganda, says Morshed
by Independent Dakka, Bangladesh
Speakers at a round table on "Media Aggression Against Bangladesh," organised by the Centre for Human Rights, came to a consensus that in order to combat the foreign media aggression against blemishing the country’s image, Bangladesh should open up more to the world to ensure free flow of information. The country should host more foreign journalists and provide complete freedom to them to travel within.
The meeting called for pro-active diplomatic role in the missions abroad to increase interactions with media and the need for a comprehensive media strategy to combat the ‘media terrorism’.
Senior journalists, politicians, academics, defence specialists and business personalities took part in the discussion.
Minister for Foreign Affairs M Morshed Khan in his speech as chief guest termed the reports published in ‘Far Eastern Economic Review’ and ‘Time’ magazine as ‘Bangladesh bashing’, which is being followed by others within and outside the country. He said, "We must differentiate between the state and the government," indicating some quarter’s pursuing desperate propaganda to show Bangladesh as a centre of the Talibans and Al-Qaeda. The Minister said when BNP was in the opposition, they never made any statement against the country, "We get a demarcate whenever our leaders go out. On the other hand some political parties in clear voice, in written form to the donors requested for stopping aids to Bangladesh," the minister emphasised. "Bangladesh has undiluted democracy, we are a moderate practising democracy with a Muslim majority. Patriotism is nobody’s sole-agency," he added.
Morshed Khan posed a question whether there is any other democracy which has more freedom than Bangladesh, "Is our neighbours freer than us? The fact is Bangladesh is becoming a victim of propaganda, we in the realm of realism should fight unitedly."
Deliberating on the new world situation Morshed Khan said that the reports against Bangladesh are mostly because we have a Muslim majority population, he termed the attitude as ‘Islam bashing’ more than Bangladesh bashing.
Chaired by Shah Abdul Hannan, the opening statement was read out by Barrister Abdur Razzaq giving the premises for the roundtable. Barrister Razzaq said the premise for media aggression against Bangladesh started with the article "Beware of Bangladesh" in the "Far Eastern Economic Review. It was followed by the ‘Time’ report early last year terming Bangladesh the hotbed for terrorist organisation. US president in a statement termed the country ‘as a great partner in the war against terror. Bangladesh is a pluralistic society with a long tradition of tolerance, the statement noted.
Abul Hasan Chowdhury in his speech said that the government should open the door to the European and US delegates so that they can see whether there are any camps of extremist patronised here. He underscored the need for regular monitoring systems in the foreign missions aboard for taking immediate steps, to stop any attempt to tarnish the country’s image.
Attorney General Hasan Arif said that in order to fight the media aggressions against the country we must start free flow of information to feed the foreign press.
Sadek Khan said Bangladesh should have a "defence mechanism to guard against media aggression as he termed them as part of a far-reaching strategy of external forces to weaken the country.
Shafik Rehman in his speech said there is no ‘free-lance-ism’ in the world any more. We have to do business with the western media by giving them our advertisements, which will bring true stories for Bangladesh. He mentioned" New York Time has written America is going to control oil fields of Iraq no matter what comes out of the situation. Shafik Rehman said It cost US $ 38,000 per page of Time magazine.
Mahfuz Anam, Editor, Daily Star said, "We see BBC presented different reports than the Time and the Far Eastern Economic Review. But the press here is united." He preferred to call the title, "unethical journalism and misreporting."
Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury said that it is high time that we should forget the partisan division and look for country’s interest.
(Monday, January 20, 2003)
Media aggression is activated by our greedy politicians