Leaders of different journalist associations have described the move of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) seeking information on the bank accounts of 11 journalist leaders as intentional.
While addressing a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club (JPC) on Saturday, they also termed it a tactic to create fear among journalists.
On September 12, the BFIU of Bangladesh Bank sent a letter to all the banks, seeking information on the bank accounts of 11 top leaders of different journalist associations.
The journalist leaders also demanded that the bank account details of the 11 journalists should transparently be revealed in mass media.
They also announced to hold a rally in front of the JPC at 12 noon today in protest against the BFIU move.
DRU General Secretary Mosiur Rahman Khan read out a written statement on behalf of the 11 journalists whose bank account details have been sought by the BFIU.
“Seeking information on the bank accounts of the leaders of organisations established by the country’s professional journalists is unprecedented in Bangladesh’s history which has never happened before,” the statement reads.
“What is the intention behind circulating the news of seeking bank account details of the journalist leaders even before getting the requested information? Such a move has tarnished the image of journalists, our organisations and journalism. We protest against this move and we demand a specific and detailed explanation from the government about the matter,” the statement added.
“We would like to state that if they (BFIU) find any information about our involvement in money laundering, illegal transactions or militancy financing, such information should be published transparently in the mass media,” it said.
“But, if no evidence is found, people should be informed of that matter and it should be given the same degree of importance as is appropriate” the statement reads.
Speaking on the occasions, Jatiya Press Club President Farida Yasmin said, “BFIU is mandated to investigate any individual or organisation when there’re specific allegations of financial irregularities against them. However, there’s not a single such allegation against these leaders. Such a move is unprecedented.”
“I talked to the information and broadcasting minister and other important persons of the government when they said they’re unaware of the matter,” she said.
BFUJ President Molla Jalal said, “The news on the bank account details has been circulated in the media even before getting the requested information after the issuance of a letter. It’s understood that this letter has been given to defame the individuals and their organisations. This tactic has been chosen to create fear in the minds of journalists.”