by Nadeem Qadir in Dhaka
Four Al-Jazeera men have been accused in a lawsuit following the Qatar-based channels controversial report about Bangladesh’s Army Chief’s family and attempt to link it to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, but dumped by Dhaka as a “fictitious, baseless and motivated” piece.
The lawsuit was filed by Moshiur Malek accusing Al Jazeera of “tarnished the image of Bangladesh’s government and the state at home and abroad, which amounts to sedition.”
The Four men accused are Al Jazeera Media Network’s acting Director General Mostefa Souag, British journalist David Bergman, Swedish-Bangladeshi journalist Tasneem Khalil, and Hungary-based businessman Zulkarnain Saer Khan.
It appears to be a multinational combination and David Bergman is known for his controversial reports, including those on Bangladesh’s War Crime Trial. Why is he so persistent on embarrassing Bangladesh rather than any other issue or country has remained a major question.
As a fellow journalist, I find it rather amusing!
But are the four are the only “Men” behind such a serious report on a sensitive issue? The Dhaka government must use its diplomatic force to go deep into the development coming out of a friendly country, Qatar.
Independence of media is one matter, but when it is used to air “All The Prime Minister’s Men,” it calls for diplomatic force to take up the issue with the Qatar government. The report targeted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Army Chief General Aziz Ahmed as far as media reports are concerned.
Both have expressed their deep concerns about the report and its purpose.
Sheikh Hasina on her part has asked all to remain alert against moves to hurt Bangladesh, while Aziz Ahmed was blunt saying that “various quarters with vested interests are involved in propaganda to create confusion within the army and undermine the chain of command.”
Both are dangerous and brings into question if journalism allows harm a nation or an organised force like the army.
The Qatar-based Al-Jazeera reported about the Army Chief’s family issues and but failed to say how the prime minister was linked to all those. Thus its failed to attempt to link the premier “at any cost” clearly indicates its main purpose — to embarrass the head of government who also is the Defence Minister.
It becomes even more clear and we tend to be afraid when we think of the deeper meanings of what the prime minister indicated — vested quarters try to stop the progress of Bangladesh whenever something good is happening to this South Asian country.
General Aziz Ahmed categorically said “I want to tell you unequivocally – the army is a highly-trained and well-motivated force, far more organised than before, and the chain of command is highly effective. Every member of the army has rejected such ill-motivated efforts in the past and continues to do so now. Those who are in the chain of command are all aware of it. I want to assure you that such propaganda will not affect our chain of command.”
If the army chief is at fault, then it will normally be carried out by, in the words of UN spokesperson, “relevant authorities” as it is an internal matter of Bangladesh.
The release of the report coincided with General Aziz Ahmed’s tour of major Western countries including the United States and has threatened our position as the top contributor to the UN Peace Keeping Operations.
Reliable sources have told this author that some disgruntled individuals are behind it and are based in several capitals after quitting Bangladesh.
Thus, if they are correct, then Al-Jazeera is patronising vested anti-Bangladesh elements.
This must be taken up by our Foreign Ministry urgently with the Al Jazeera authorities as well as the Qatar government to find out exactly who were behind this “motivated” report and punish them. Al Jazeera must stop approving such reports if it wants to keep its image of a credible news channel.