Bad Reporting


Out of the two items posted below, at least one is a explosive news, if only news value is considered and if we decide not to mention the significance of this news in terms of Bangladesh local politics, geopolitical conflicts, soveignity of Bangladesh, land disputes etc. And the other news points to high stake financial mismanagement, esp during the weeks when our media is obsessively focused who siphoned how many billion taka from a bank or from the stock market.
AGARTALA: Dhaka has allowed New Delhi to erect fencing along the zero line of the international border so that Indian homes and farms located close to it are not impacted, a Tripura minister said here on Friday.

India has been erecting the barbed wire fence along its 4,095-km border with Bangladesh passing through West Bengal, Tripura, Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram to check trans-border movement of militants, prevent infiltration and prevent border crimes. As per international norms, the barbed wire fencing has to be built 150-yards inside India from the zero line of the international border.

“For erecting the fence (at 150-yards from the border line) along the 841-km of the 856-km India-Bangladesh border with Tripura, over 8,730 Indian families’ homes, paddy fields, lands, farms and other assets had fallen outside the fence (making them) vulnerable,” Tripura revenue and finance minister Badal Choudhury said.

He said: “Due to stipulated distance for putting up the fence, over 19,359 acres of land, including farmland, have fallen outside the fencing in Tripura alone.”

“Following Tripura government’s persistent demand, New Delhi appraised Dhaka about the problems in erecting the fencing at the 150-yards from the boundary and the Bangladesh government has allowed India to erect the fencing at the zero line’ in certain stretches to save Indian properties and congested human habitations.”

________________________________________________________________________
IANS, Apr 10, 2011, 01.03pm IST

DHAKA: Indian telecom major Bharti Airtel has an “unfair market advantage” over its competitors in Bangladesh, a report said here Sunday.

The draft Cellular Mobile Telecommunication Operators Licence Renewal Guidelines 2011, prepared by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) on behalf of the posts and telecommunications ministry, allows unfair market advantage to Airtel, the latest operator to enter the market, “telecom industry insiders” were quoted as saying in New Age.

Right from Airtel’s 70 percent stake in Warid Telecom for $100,000 to allowing Airtel to exchange spectrum band access free of charge, “the government and the commission have displayed a bias towards Airtel in their treatment of the telecom industry”.

Four leading operators – Grameenphone, Orascom (Banglalink), Axiata (Robi) and Pacific Bangladesh Telecom Ltd (Citycell) – are up for licence renewal in November, after the expiry of the 15-year term of their licences.

Airtel, which acquired the licence in December 2005 for $50 million, is not up for renewal until 2020. It gets a window of nine years in which it will be providing services for much lower rates, the report says.

According to the draft, operators will need to pay application fee, licence renewal fee, annual licence fee, revenue sharing, social obligation fund as well as separate licence fees and charge for spectrum use.

The spectrum fees have been set at Tk 1.5 billion ($20 million) per MHz of GSM 1,800MHz band frequency and Tk 3 billion ($40 million) per MHz of GSM 900MHz band to be multiplied with the utilisation factor of each of the operators.

In total, Grameenphone would have to pay Tk 55 billion ($755 million), Banglalink Tk 29 billion ($410 million), Robi Tk 30 billion ($400 million) and Citycell Tk 6.2 billion ($85 million).

Top officials of the four leading operators say the proposed fee is too high and will force the operators to increase prices for services.

“Outside of Grameenphone, the three other operators still operate on losses and, therefore, we do not understand the justification of this staggering fee,” a top official of Banglalink said.

An official said Airtel’s promotional offer of dinner with Indian actors Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor was against BTRC regulations. On complaints from other mobile operators, BTRC just issued a letter to all operators to not flout rules, foregoing any punitive action against Airtel.

[ P.S. These news items were missing from main pages of main stream print and electronic media in Bangladesh. May be someone can find some mention of the above news in a one column 2 inch news on the 17th page. Both the news mentioned above deserved high value treatment and lack of such trreatment means the news was missing in Bangladesh media.]

Updated: Some redemption.

I am a fan of Zafar Iqbal the science-fiction writer. The columnist, not so much. After a long time, he once again wrote a column in the Prothom Alo. According to him, the two greatest problems facing our country are:

1. We don’t know the lyrics of our national anthem.

2. We don’t make our national flag according to the correct specifications.

Compared to Professor Iqbal, Sohrab Hasan is a paragon of reality-based discourse. He very aptly points out the plight of Bangladeshi blue-collar workers in Libya and the AL government’s slothful reaction to this problem. However, then he seeks to balance his attack by blaming the opposition BNP for not going to the Airport when the workers returned from Libya. Given that two months ago, our government did not allow BNP MPs to enter the Airport when Khaleda Zia departed for China, one has to wonder how Sohrab Hasan believes that the same government would have just allowed the BNP leaders to stroll into the airport without any hassle.

Hasan commits the added offense of minimizing the current controversy of the reprinting of the Constitution ( সরকারি ও বিরোধী দল বাহাসে লিপ্ত হয়েছে সংবিধান পুনর্মুদ্রণ, গণ-আদালতে বিচার এবং তত্ত্বাবধায়ক সরকার থাকা না-থাকা নিয়ে). Prothom Alo’s Mizanur Rahman Khan has been conducting a one-man war against the complete chaos regarding the new, phantom Constitution. His columns on this matter should be mandatory reading for anyone concerned with the fate of parliamentary democracy in Bangladesh.

But no amount of myopia can compete with that displayed by the government in its handling of Prof. Yunus. Sheikh Hasina is going to look back to the day when she decided to launch her vendetta against Prof. Yunus and rue it.

From the Daily
Star
:

According to Singapore newspaper
The Straits Times report, the court on Monday convicted and fined
businessman Lim Siew Cheng $900,677 (S$1.2 million) for
transferring Koko’s $3.17 lakh and holding the money in his
personal account upon Koko’s advice.

From The
Straits Times
:

Lim Siew Cheng, 63,
should have suspected the money could be the proceeds of criminal
conduct and should have reported it to the Corrupt Practices
Investigation Bureau or the police. He did neither and on Monday he
pleaded guilty and was fined $6,000 each for the two offences under
laws to prevent money-laundering.

Two fines of
6,000 for a total of 12,000. Not 1.2 Million, or 1,200,000. But
hey, when the Zia family is concerned, exaggerating things
a hundred times is nothing new. Expectations of accuracy and
honest reporting from the Bangladeshi media? Not unless your name
is Dr. Yunus.