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“This is another new tactic of intimidating journalists by seeking the bank account details of the presidents and general secretaries of the National Press Club, BFUJ, DUJ and DRU after making various efforts to suppress them,” Fakhrul said.

He said this unprecedented incident is an extreme threat to independent journalism and freedom of expression in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) of the Bangladesh Bank issued letters to the commercial banks asking for details of bank accounts of 11 journalist leaders last week.

Fakhrul said the government is not only oppressing the opposition leaders, human rights activists and dissidents, but also the journalists to perpetuate its power. “The incident of seeking the bank account details of 11 journalist leaders is the manifestation of that."

He also said the government’s recent announcement to shut online news portals has also exposed once again that the country's media and journalists have no freedom. “The authoritarian government wants to control media in various ways.”

The BNP leader said the Awami League government is trying to gag the media to establish one person’s rule in the country.

He called upon the authorities concerned to immediately withdraw the letters sent by the BFIU seeking the bank account details of 11 journalist leaders.

Fakhrul urged the government to ensure press freedom by removing the fear and panic among journalists.

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