BFUJ, DUJ express concern over Police Service Association statement

Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) and Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) have expressed deep concern regarding the statement made by the Police Service Association about journalists. Leaders of the two organisations said they consider the manner in which certain leaders and organisations are expressing their reaction to the publication of certain reports, to be a threat to independent journalism.

BFUJ president Omar Faruk, secretary general Deep Azad and DUJ president Sohel Haider Chowdhury and general secretary Akhter Hossain expressed this concern in a joint statement made today, Saturday. They hope that all quarters will refrain from making statements that hamper the environment of independent journalism. The right to freedom of expression and independent journalism is recognised in the constitution.

In a press release issued on Saturday, the Bangladesh Police Service Association in Saturday called for journalists to maintain extra caution when publishing any report about the police force to follow the principles of journalism. The association claimed that in recent times partial, motivated and indiscriminate reports about former and serving members of the police were being published serially in the media (print and electronic) and on social media.

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BFUJ and DUJ issued their statement in this context. In the statement the journalist leaders said that in recent times the media published reports on the massive and abnormal amounts of wealth amassed by certain powerful serving and former government officials. It was not with any ulterior motive that the reports were published. They said that responsible journalists published these reports with due clarification of facts and scrutiny of relevant documents.

The journalist leaders said that all government statements, information on the websites or from press briefings were important. It is from such information that the journalists prepare their news. But the main task of journalists is to probe the facts that the powerful persons want to conceal and to inform the people about this in detail, in a professional manner. It is encouraging that certain factual news has been published concerning powerful quarters.

The BFUJ and DUJ leaders said, "We see no reason to get agitated over the matter. It is the responsibility of those who publish such news to prove the reports. And those about whom the reports are being published should then prove that these are false if they can. It is the responsibility of the government and concerned quarters to investigate the news and punish the offenders. It is not befitting to simply blame each other over such matters. Even so, if anyone is offended, they can approach the Press Council. If any official commits corruption, it is his personal matter, not that of the force."

The statement said BFUJ and DUJ want to clearly state that in face of any threats, the journalist community will continue in their professional duties on the basis of proven factual information.

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