How news outlets lose reputation by affiliating with wrong people?


Journalism is not only a noble profession; it also is termed Fourth Estate or fourth power that refers to the press and news media both in explicit capacity of advocacy and implicit ability to frame socio-political issues. The derivation of the term arises from the traditional European concept of the three estates of the realm: the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners. However, the profession’s integrity can be compromised when news outlets affiliate themselves with dubious individuals. An instance into the case of an individual named Zulkarnain Saer Sami, alias Zulkarnain Saer Khan Sami, and the alarming consequences of his association with prominent media outlets, shedding light on the broader issue of how such affiliations can tarnish the reputation of news organizations is presented in this article.

In early 2019, Zulkarnain Saer Sami gained prominence through Al Jazeera, positioning himself as a whistleblower in a documentary that lacked substantial evidence. The documentary targeted influential individuals in Bangladesh, but the absence of proper journalistic procedures, such as verifying claims and providing evidence, raised ethical concerns. Zulkarnain’s criminal background, involving activities like illegal hundi operations, transnational drug and human trafficking, and connections to Hezbollah, went unvetted. The questionable association with Zulkarnain raised fundamental questions about Al Jazeera’s commitment to thorough fact-checking and adherence to rigorous journalistic standards.

Zulkarnain Saer Sami, also known by multiple aliases, has a questionable past involving criminal and terrorist activities. Expelled from Hungary on suspicion of engaging in illegal activities, he sought asylum in the UK with false claims of being a victim of political persecution. His involvement in illegal hundi businesses, drug trafficking, and connections to Hezbollah raise serious concerns about his credibility. Reputable media outlets, including Euronews and Magyar Nemzet, exposed Zulkarnain’s criminal past and the dubious nature of his asylum-seeking claims. His involvement in illegal activities, false identities, and connections to terrorist organizations further eroded the credibility of his association with Al Jazeera.

Zulkarnain’s deliberate alteration of personal details, including changing his father’s name, reveals a pattern of deceit aimed at evading law enforcement. This manipulation, coupled with his history of impersonating an army Colonel, indicates a willingness to deceive for personal gain.

According to reputable media outlets such as Euronews, Zulkarnain Saer Sami alias Zulkarnain Saer Khan Sami alias Tanvir Md. Sadat, a man with many names and several fake identities, after being expelled from Hungary on allegations of “suspicious” activities, fled to Britain and sought asylum with false claims of “a victim of political vengeance”.

According to Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet (Hungarian Nation)

back in 2001, Zulkarnain Saer Khan Sami alias Tanvir Md. Sadat was caught by the Military Police while entering Dhaka Cantonment wearing the uniform of an army Colonel. Later he was released after giving a written bond. Prior to fleeing Bangladesh for Hungary, Zulkarnain Saer Khan Sami alias Tanvir Md. Sadat was arrested on July 21, 2006 in Bangladesh on charges of cheating local businessmen under false identity of an officer of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). A criminal case number 43, dated 21.07.2006 was lodged against him under sections 140, 170, 171, 419, 465, 467, 469 and 472 of the Bangladesh Penal Code.

Most shocking and alarming information about Zulkarnain Saer comes from Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC), which is one of the most comprehensive compendiums of information and analysis of terrorist groups and activities in the world has termed him as “jihadist-terrorist” citing several evidences including one where he threatened to behead a Hindu rights activist and professor Kushal Baran Chakraborty in Chittagong, Bangladesh.

Zulkarnain’s ability to operate under multiple aliases and false identities, along with his track record of dodging law enforcement, paints a picture of a man skilled in deception.

In a disturbing turn of events, in May 2022, Zulkarnain Saer established ‘SAMS INC LTD’ in the United Kingdom, signaling a shift of his illegal activities, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and connections to terrorist outfits, from Hungary to the UK. The company’s registration details suggest a strategic move to continue his illicit operations from Hungary to the UK under a different jurisdiction, potentially working in favor of Iranian proxies Hezbollah and Hamas. The international ramifications of such activities can cast a dark shadow on any media outlet associated with him.

Zulkarnain Saer’s involvement in extortion activities, posing as a correspondent for Israeli newspaper Haaretz, an analyst for Al Jazeera, and a team member of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), reveals a blatant misuse of media affiliations for personal gain. Victims report threats of exposure and demands for large sums of money, with Zulkarnain claiming a portion would go to OCCRP for managing top management. Such unethical behavior not only tarnishes the reputation of the outlets he claims affiliation with but also poses a significant threat to the principles of responsible journalism.

In March 2023 Zulkarnain Saer was accused of attempted extortion by an individual named Arav Khan, an alias of Rabiul Islam who after killing a police officer, fled Bangladesh and succeeded in obtaining an Indian passport number U-4985389 and later ended up in Dubai.

On March 17, 2023, Zulkarnain Saer in a post published his telephonic conversation with the fugitive cop killer Arav Khan, an alias of Rabiul Islam, Rabiul, Apan, Sohag, Redoy and Hride. In this post, Zulkarnain Sami is heard of claiming to be member of Al Jazeera’s Investigative Team, reporter of Israeli newspaper Haaretz and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). He also claimed himself as an “international journalist”.

On the same day, cop killer Arav Khan in a post published his telephonic conversation with Zulkarnain Saer, where Arav Khan accused Saer of demanding BDT 50 million from him.

On his social media platforms, Zulkarnain Saer is continuously propagating Hamas as well as Islamist and terrorist entities in Bangladesh including Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) while he also is openly threatening targeted wealthy individuals of “exposing secrets” and even openly telling of “investigative report for OCCRP under process” against them. He also reached Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) claiming he was victim of media assault because of sending emails on behalf of OCCRP to several influential individuals in Bangladesh seeking response on allegations.

Reality is not only disturbing; it also is extremely threatening to dignity of journalism. Genuine journalists would never reveal any ongoing investigation to anyone until it is published. But Zulkarnain Saer does not bother following this norm as he actually is using platforms such as Haaretz, Al Jazeera and OCCRP in making money through extortion. Most importantly, though he is living in the United Kingdom for the past three years, Zulkarnain has no valid source of income, except for his alleged involvement in extortion, drug trafficking, money-laundering, terror-connection and operating human trafficking rackets that brings illegal immigrants to Britain through the English Channel.

The case of Zulkarnain Saer Sami highlights the severe repercussions news outlets may face when affiliating with individuals of dubious character. The erosion of journalistic ethics, manipulation of identities, involvement in criminal activities, and threats of extortion not only compromise the reputation of the outlets involved but also endanger the principles of responsible journalism. Media organizations must remain vigilant in vetting their sources and contributors to uphold the trust and credibility essential for the functioning of the Fourth Estate. In a world where information is power, the responsibility lies with news outlets to ensure that they do not become unwitting accomplices in the activities of individuals with questionable motives and backgrounds.


  1. Hopefully OCCRP and Haaretz shall take immediately measures and sack this individual. I don’t expect such action from Al Jazeera, anyway.


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