US embassy has started enforcing visa ban on Bangladeshi media persons


Within less than 24 hours of US ambassador Peter Haas stating Washington will include journalists under visa ban, the US Embassy in Dhaka has already started enforcing such sanctions targeting dozens of individuals including media persons in the country.

In a tweet on September 25, 2023, US Embassy said, “We are applying the [visa restriction] policy in a balanced way against anyone [undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh] – regardless of being pro-government, opposition party, members of law enforcement agencies, members of the judiciary, or media persons”. Following this tweet, pro-BNP online activists have flooded with comments, mostly congratulating Washington for taking such punitive measures against cross-section of people including media persons. Some of them have also expressed optimism of return of election-time caretaker government system in the country, while others have criticized the decision. Here are some of the comments:

Tanbir: Thanks @usembassydhaka for your unwavering support to return back the democratic rights of helpless Bangladeshi. Ambassador H.E. Peter Haas & his colleagues will forever be remembered & cherished in the heart of Bangladeshi. (Same comment has been copied and pasted by a large number of online activists of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).

Md. Mahfuz Ali: Bangladesh: US Visa Policy at the Centre of Discussion The US visa policy at work made the vast multitude of the people of Bangladesh happier than ever before.

Mukul Hira: Dynastic politics is nothing but institutionalized nepotism and cronyism. “Visa restrictions” is not a long-term solution to the hostile environment. BD ppl can’t go on like this. Poverty, famine, exploitation – they need some big changes politically as well as environmentally!

Shamrez Ahmed: When are you going to apply such restrictions in PAKISTAN?

Protap Khan: Wish your government had the same courage when it comes to “Democracy” in the Middle East. What you are doing is a blatant violation of a sovereign county’s internal politics which is totally unacceptable and not appreciated. FIX YOUR OWN ELECTION SYSTEM FIRST.

Shah Paran: Thanks for considering the media personnel who are helping to undermine the democracy process.

Bijoy: The terrorist organization BNP should be banned.

Love My Pak: Please do the same in Pakistan if you were not behind the crime of regime change operation.

Anwar Khan: Countries that use sanctions of various kinds, including “visa-policy” as a tool, to gain “political, economic or regional-advantages” are global-imperialists “deceivers, hypocrites and selfish”. Be careful about them.

Md. Imtiaz Uddin: What USA achieved from so called democratic upbringing in Iraq, Libya or Afghanistan. At worst, US will put millions to death. If that is not a viable idea they will use backdoor to select their puppet. BD hadn’t had support from US in 1971 but history is kinder to us the people.

S I Raju: This move by the #USA to apply visa sanctions on #Bangladesh media and journalists is deeply concerning. It not only undermines the principles of freedom of speech and free journalism but also sets a dangerous precedent for press freedom worldwide.

Nazmul Hasan Nayem: The problem is you are trying to establish a hegemony in this country. You do not want a fair election, you want Bangladesh to join QUAD and recognize homosexuality. You want to use Bangladesh’s soil to confront China in the region and control its economy and culture.

Shamim Hasan: If America wants to change the government of any country. Then they use the weapon called democracy and human rights.

Palash Rabbani: In Bangladesh, graves of war criminals will be declared as “shrines”, Padma Bridge, Metrorail, Kornaphuli tunnel, Rooppur nuclear power plant etc. will be declared as Zia’s dream! Terrorist forces of different sizes like Bangla Bhai will be created, if BNP occupied power.

Giving reaction on American government’s latest decision of imposing visa restriction on journalists, seeking anonymity a senior journalist told Blitz, “Joe Biden and members of his administration has already earned infame by restricting freedom of expression and adopting extreme repressive policies targeting journalists in the United States. Now it seems they are planning to internationalize their evil agenda of gauging freedom of press by using this draconian visa policy. Through this, Joe Biden and his administration have evidently proved, they neither believe in democracy nor in freedom of expression. While America has turned into a hegemonic monster, Joe Biden now can be branded as neo-Hitler”.

Meanwhile, several pro-BNP journalists have expressed delight at including journalists under visa restrictions.

A source told this correspondent, an editor of Dhaka’s vernacular tabloid daily is currently preparing list of “pro-Awami League” media persons and journalists as well as “beneficiaries of Awami League government” which he would handover to the US embassy in Dhaka for enforcing visa restrictions on the listed journalists and media persons.

The source further said, the vernacular tabloid daily editor is preparing the list in coordination with Mushfiqul Fazal Ansarey, key representative of BNP’s acting chairman Tarique Rahman in the United States. Sitting in the US, Ansarey is coordinating anti-Bangladesh lobbyists activities with the help of William B Milam and Jon Danilowicz. Blitz earlier has exposed activities of Milam, Danilowicz and Ansarey through a number of investigative reports.

It may be mentioned here that, for the last many years, although former US diplomats William B Milam and Jon Danilowicz have been working as lobbyists for ultra-Islamist Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) along with few more individuals in the United States, none of them have registered themselves as lobbyists thus violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

It is also learnt, under “media person” category, participants of TV talk-shows shall be also falling under visa restriction.


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