Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy has said BNP’s public threat to journalists about consequences unless they toe in their line, is designed to terrorize and muzzle the realm of free press ahead of the national election, exposing sheer disregard for press.
“In a show of sheer disregard for press freedom , Bangladesh Nationalist Party now launched fresh assault warning journalists of dire consequences unless they toe the line ahead of the election”, Sajeeb Wazed twitted on Saturday.
He made the observation with a video report with series of past news reports that chronicled systematic attack on media persons by BNP men over the course of last few years including attack on journalists, hurling abuses to talk-show moderators, passing misogynic remarks on female anchors and ceaseless issuance of threats against journalists by top leadership from public rallies.
Recently BNP’s verified media cell from its verified facebook page issued a threat publicly “we are putting a tight leash on journalists: who are with democracy and who are with autocrats”.
“While in a democracy, free media embodies the freedom to hold both the government and the opposition accountable, but BNP’s dictum seeks to muzzle and terrorise media from operating freely,” said Joy.
The power of media in a democracy lies in the concept that journalists should spare none — ruling party and opposition both, he said.
But this direct threat from the party’s media cell clearly expose the extreme intolerant face of the party and points to the threat BNP pose for media if comes to power, as they did earlier during 2001-06, he added.
Recently, top BNP leaders have attacked female moderators in the face of critical questions, while earlier a senior journalist revealed in a talk-show that BNP-Jamaat cadres have supplied journalists with footages of lobbying petrol bombs on buses and burning videos of buses and insisted them on broadcasting such grisly footages.
Meanwhile, BNP leaders also ran a wave of disinformation campaign against certain media outlets claiming a decline in viewership following their boycott despite gaining popularity of these channels.
Moreover, several reported incidents of BNP men attacked journalists also came to the fore but no substantive measures have been taken.
Senior journalists also came down hard on the party for such ceaseless “assault” to get media toe in their line, aiming to stop critical reportage against the party ahead of the election.
Moreover, a number of media reports also suggested BNP leaders are threatening journalists with US sanctions hailing US ambassador Peter D Haas’s remarks for possible expansion of media sanction on media persons.