'Open letter on Yunus is an advertisement, not statement'

Information and broadcasting minister Hasan Mahmud
File photo

Information and broadcasting minister Hasan Mahmud on Friday said that the statement of 40 world leaders about Bangladesh's one and only Nobel laureate, microcredit pioneer Md Yunus, is an advertisement, not a statement.

"There is a difference between an advertisement and a statement," Hasan Mahmud explained, reports UNB.

"It cannot be called a statement, it is an advertisement. An advertisement in the name of 40 people has been printed in The Washington Post at a cost of crores of money."

The minister was talking to reporters on Bangladesh's "progress" in the annual democracy index compiled by Washington-based think tank Freedom House, at his residence in the capital's Minto Road.

"Dr. Yunus is a senior citizen of Bangladesh. With due respect, I want to say that I have never seen such an advertising statement in Bangladesh. I don't know if it happens in the world. The question is how reasonable it is to buy such a statement and publish it by spending crores of money. He is a Nobel laureate in any way. It actually undermined his personality. My question - where does his money come from?"

The global leaders expressed their "deep concerns for the well-being" of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus in an open letter to prime minister Sheikh Hasina, that appeared as a full-page ad in the Washington Post on Tuesday, 7 March, 2023.

The minister stated that amid BNP's continuous hue and cry that there is no democracy in the country and no freedom of speech, Bangladesh moved up a notch in a democracy index by Freedom House.

"It means the practice of democracy continues in Bangladesh. Under the leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina, progress has been achieved in all sectors, including freedom of speech," he added.

BNP leaders go on television channels every morning and evening and make irrational criticisms of the government. On the other hand, they claim that they have no freedom of expression.

British think-tank Freedom House then revealed that BNP's claims are absolutely false, he said.