Since this government came to power media came under relentless attack. At least two electronic media were taken off air ( probably to facilitate flourishing of ten new TV channels whose license has been distributed to party hacks by this Awami League government), declaration of one news paper were canceled, a prominent editor was put behind the bars and much more.
And while all these went on, the highest circulated Bangla and English dailies, owned by same media empire, despite the face saving lip services, maintained a shrewd complacency, in turn consciously facilitating government gag on those media of opposing business or political views. Although they were warned citing Pastor Martin Niemoller , they apparently thought themselves way too invincible.
So last week a process began what was expected to happen. These two print media came under attack by Ministers, members of parliament as well as the speaker of the house.
This blog has been vocal against this media house for quite a long time. This blog feels that the editor of the Bangla Daily under attack has done more harm to democracy and fair journalism than anyone else in history of Bangladesh. This editor and cohorts developed a new tactic of propaganda in favor of their political philosophy. It pioneered news-making culture in Bangladesh. Not only it’s op-eds and editorials were critical of it’s political opponents, news published by these newspapers are inadvertently adulterated to promote its petty partisan agenda. Without a blink of an eye, it’s editorial policy can change the content of the headline news item to support its own agenda. This newspaper has been cruel to it’s opponents in character assassination. Over the last decade, to drive it’s own goal, this specific media was so rampant in character assassination, it can be charged with agenda driven character genocide.
As the editor in question has all along enjoyed his rights of free speech in committing character genocide, now if any politician or member of parliament felt aggrieved, she/he must have the right to speak it out, be it in parliament, be it in a political rally. It is not fair to throw unsubstantiated attacks and start fear-mongering about attack on media when those under attack protests.
However rightful criticism and threat from government officials/ law makers are two different issues. And despite having such strong opinion about the media in question, this blog refuses to support the threat on this media house by the parliament. If this blog abhors double standard, this blog must criticize the attack on free media, hence criticize the recent parliamentary proceedings. And unlike progressives dealing with Daily Amar Desh and it’s editor Mahmudur Rahman, this blog refuses to add any qualification of exception to it’s unconditional criticism of the threat on Daily Prothom-Alo and the Daily Star.
To be more specific, this blog condemns the threat of the senior MP Suranjit Sengupta on enacting contempt of parliament law and protests threats of the speaker, at least two ministers and other senior parliamentarian (Sheikh Selim) of summoning an editor in front of parliamentary committee. There is already a place to complain against misadventures of media, that is called the Press Council. Any complain on media must go through press council. And any other form of state inflicted punitive/ corrective measure on media is absolutely unacceptable.