‘Bangladesh Defense News’ damages image of Bangladesh Army

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Al Qaeda, Bangladesh, DGFI, Bangladesh Armed Forces, Bangladesh Army

While there is series ongoing conspiracy against Bangladesh Armed Forces mostly being funded by Al Qaeda-connected Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), organized rackets are openly running well-orchestrated propaganda with the ulterior motive of tarnishing image of Bangladesh Army as well as senior military officials. While in the swiftly changing landscape of digital communication, social media platforms have become powerful tools for information dissemination. However, this power can be misused, posing significant risks to national security and public trust. A glaring example of this is a Facebook page namely – ‘Bangladesh Defense News’, which claims to focus on defense and military technologies. Despite its seemingly benign purpose, the page has raised alarm due to agenda of people behind this venture as well as the nature of its contents and its potential impact on the reputation and security of Bangladesh and its armed forces.

‘Bangladesh Defense News’, a Facebook page with 15,000 followers, lists its contact address as House No. 26, Road No. 8, Sector No. 13, Uttara Model Town, Dhaka, Bangladesh, 1230. The page describes itself as a group of enthusiasts interested in defense and military technologies. However, a closer examination reveals that its content often crosses the line from informative to misleading and provocative, raising questions about the true intent and identities of the individuals behind it.

The content posted by ‘Bangladesh Defense News’ is often sensitive, speculative, and potentially damaging. For example, a post on June 11 claimed that Lt. General Waker-uz-Zaman would be the new army chief, citing his “strong foreign connections, especially with India”. Such speculative posts undermine the credibility and neutrality of the Bangladesh Army, sowing confusion and distrust among the public.

Another post on the same date discussed the upcoming Iranian elections, inaccurately portraying candidates and their political backgrounds. The poor language and grammar used in these posts further diminish their credibility, making them appear as deliberate attempts to misinform rather than inform.

The page has also delved into commercial criticism, targeting a recent Coca-Cola Bangladesh advertisement and its creators. This post sparked widespread criticism, leading to the advertisement being removed from YouTube. This incident highlights the page’s influence and its potential to cause significant reputational damage.

The reach of ‘Bangladesh Defense News’ extends beyond Facebook. The YouTube channel – ‘Defense Update Bangladesh’, which started in 2017, has over a million subscribers and more than 1,200 videos. The channel’s description claims to legally publish videos about various security and armed forces activities. However, the content is often sensationalized and misleading.

A detailed review of the videos reveals a focus on global politics, military capabilities, and geopolitical relations, often framed in a way that misleads the audience. Video title such as “Houthi’s Magic Missile” are designed to attract clicks rather than provide accurate information. The sheer volume of content and its widespread dissemination raise serious questions about the intentions behind these platforms.

‘Bangladesh Defense News’ and ‘Defense Update Bangladesh’ maintain a robust presence across various social media platforms. Besides Facebook and YouTube, they have a suspended ‘X’ (formerly Twitter) account (DefUpBD), an Instagram account (defensebd) with about 2,000 followers, and a WordPress blog. The blog includes posts like “Can Myanmar Afford Submarines Right Now?”

From April 18, 2019, and another blog site “1st Muslim Country to Build Such a Large Combat Drone”, updated on December 11, 2019. These posts are complemented by hundreds of other entries and videos from the Defense Update Bangladesh YouTube channel.

The interconnected nature of these accounts and their consistent use of a monogram similar to the Bangladesh Armed Forces’ emblem create a veneer of authenticity that can easily mislead the public. This coordinated approach suggests a deliberate strategy to appear credible and authoritative, potentially deceiving readers about the legitimacy and accuracy of the information provided.

The Instagram account mirrors the content on the YouTube channel and Facebook page, further expanding their reach. Posts often include sensational and provocative content, designed to attract attention and stir controversy. The WordPress blog, although less active, provides another avenue for disseminating misleading information.

The activities of ‘Bangladesh Defense News’ and its affiliated channels have significant implications for national security. The dissemination of unverified and provocative content can tarnish the image of the Bangladesh Armed Forces and create distrust among the public. Moreover, the spread of false information about military and geopolitical matters can have far-reaching consequences, potentially destabilizing the region.

The apparent lack of oversight and intervention by Bangladesh’s intelligence agencies and defense organizations is concerning. It raises questions about the effectiveness of these agencies in monitoring and countering such threats. Given the potential damage, it is imperative that these agencies take immediate action to investigate and, if necessary, shut down these platforms.

A comparative analysis with India’s defense media landscape provides valuable insights. India has established portals like Indian Defense Review and Indian Defense News, managed by retired military officers under the supervision of the Indian Army. These portals maintain a high standard of content, focusing on credible and verified information. They also have multiple social media accounts that reflect their professionalism and commitment to accurate reporting.

In contrast, ‘Bangladesh Defense News’ and ‘Defense Update Bangladesh’ lack such credibility and oversight. Their content often appears unprofessional, speculative, and deliberately provocative. This comparison underscores the need for Bangladesh to develop a more robust and credible defense media landscape, supervised by experienced military personnel and subject to strict oversight.

It should be noted that a search on Facebook reveals multiple pages and groups with names like Defense News 24 BD, Bangladesh Defense Force, Defense System, and even DGFI Headquarters, Bangladesh National Security Intelligence, each with thousands of followers. While this indicates a high level of public interest, it also underscores the need for concerned organizations to enforce stricter regulations regarding the opening and operation of pages and accounts using such names on social media.

The rise of social media has undoubtedly changed the way information is shared and consumed. While it offers numerous benefits, it also presents challenges that must be addressed. The case of Bangladesh Defense News serves as a stark reminder of the need for vigilance and proactive measures to safeguard national security in the digital age.

To counter the threat posed by such platforms, it is crucial to establish credible and professional defense media outlets. These outlets should be supervised by experienced military personnel and subject to strict oversight to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information they disseminate. Additionally, intelligence and defense agencies must enhance their monitoring capabilities to detect and neutralize misinformation campaigns swiftly.

‘Bangladesh Defense News’ and its affiliated social media channels represent a significant threat to national security and the image of the Bangladesh Armed Forces. The dissemination of misleading and provocative content under the guise of defense news is not only irresponsible but also potentially dangerous. It is crucial for the relevant authorities to act swiftly to investigate and neutralize these threats, ensuring that the information landscape remains credible and secure.

It may be recalled here that on November 1, 2021, Blitz exposed an individual named Raino Aryan Khan alias Mir Asaduzzaman Aryan openly proclaimed to be Information System Analyst (IT analyst) at the Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI). On his Facebook profile, Aryan also claimed himself as a film director, write, editor, graphics designer at Indian film industry; a former System Engineer at SATV (a private satellite TC channel in Bangladesh); student of Rifles Public School & College (RPSC); and student of the College of Development Alternative (CODA). He also claimed to have obtained Bachelor of Science (B. Sc) degree from the Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE), University of Liberal Arts (ULAB). Aryan also claimed to be Founder & Creative Director of Amazon Prime Bangladesh.

We have discovered another Facebook page that is using the name of DGFI in a tricky manner. Admin of this page is Mehedi Hasan Opi who claims to be former Officer’s Mess staff at Bangladesh Military Academy and claims to be cyber security specialist in Bangladesh. Similarly, there are dozens of accounts, pages and groups on Facebook as well as other social media platforms who are using the name of DGFI for reasons unknow.

The rise of social media has brought about a new era of information sharing, but it also demands increased vigilance and proactive measures to protect national security. By establishing credible defense media outlets and enhancing monitoring capabilities, Bangladesh can safeguard its national security and maintain public trust in its armed forces.

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