Veteran journalist questions ethics of Dhaka newspaper editor


Anis Alamgir, veteran war correspondent turned university teacher has published a post titled ‘An Open Letter to Mahfuz Anam Bhai’ on his verified Facebook handle. Mr. Alamgir became a household name in Bangladesh for his live coverages on war in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also is considered as one of the most seasoned journalists and editor in the country.

In the “open letter” Anis Alamgir wrote:

Dear Respected Editor,

Your recent contradictory role in dealing with journalist Rozina Islam’s issues disappointed me; I became suspicious about your morality and concern about your double standards.

However, I always respect you as the editor of The Daily Star; you are also the president of Sompadok Parishad (Editors’ Council), a virtually sick organization run by the editors of different dailies. So you have double job responsibilities for securing the life of journalists and protecting the standard of journalism. But, unfortunately, your Editors’ Council failed to take the decision not to publish the cheap, untruth advertisement of the Ministry of Health about journalist Rozina Islam while your junior colleagues already boycotted the press conference of the ministry.

You, the editors, failed to stand beside Journalist Rozina and speak to the government for her early release from jail. Furthermore, your solvent newspaper weirdly printed the ad, which contains many lies; even you didn’t mention beside the ad that ‘you disagree with the claims of the ad.’

I know you always love to talk about ethics in journalism. But again, this time in your practice, I found the practice of ethics is absent.

Recently I have seen there was no follow-up news in your newspaper about Basundhara Group’s MD Anvir’s suspected involvement in the mysterious death of his girlfriend Munia. You are regarded as one of the most experienced editors, but you are surrounded by low-grade opportunist journalists who are running the so-called Editors’ Council, which should be abolished soon because the members of it failed to protect journalists and couldn’t make the right decision in favor of authentic journalism.

As the government has accountability to the people, the editors should have similar accountability to the citizens. You are only busy with telling about the corruption in several government bodies, but not telling some editors are corrupt too, and they are serving the interest of the richest villains in the society.

Earlier, in a commentary, editor of The Daily Star tried to justify his decision of accepting a paid advertisement from the Health Ministry, which went against the journalist of vernacular daily Prothom Alo, which is owned by the same business conglomerate that runs Daily Star. In the commentary, Mr. Anam wrote:

Some questions have been raised as to why we published the health ministry’s advertisement. Not publishing it would have constituted a form of censorship that we thoroughly reject. Since the said ministry has been the subject of many recent news reports, we feel that the public has the right to know what the health ministry’s views are.

It may be mentioned here that, in February 2016, Mahfuz Anam admitted in a talk show that his newspaper had published false corruption allegations against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the basis of unsubstantiated information fed by DGFI.

Critics of The Daily Star say, this newspaper has vendetta against Sheikh Hasina and Awami League for decades. It is also alleged that Mr. Anam tried to form a political party with Dr Muhammed Yunus, the scandalous founder of Grameen Bank, by forcing Sheikh Hasina into exile.

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