Helena Jahangir, the director of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI), is facing a barrage of criticism from netizens after posting a photo of her Press Information Department (PID)-issued accreditation card for Bangladesh Secretariat on her Facebook page.
The Ministry of Information issued the accreditation card to Helena earlier this week.
Ironically, the social media furore was indirectly triggered by Helena herself, after admitting on Facebook that she had no idea what purpose this card served.
On Wednesday, Helena posted a Facebook status that read: “I finally picked up the accreditation card after eight months, after making time from my busy schedule. But I have no idea what purpose this card serves.
“I only applied for the card after a well-wisher of mine told me to do so. I am a writer and a columnist, so the card might be of use later. I am a businesswoman, and my focus is always on business.”
That status caused uproar among professional journalists as soon as it was posted.
Commenting on the post, several journalists questioned that, when after years of service in this profession, many have yet to receive an accreditation card, why was Helena given one?
Facing heavy criticism, the FBCCI director later edited out the part where she questioned about the card’s purpose from her status.
Later on Thursday, Helena deleted the controversial status in a bid to curb the storm of criticism directed at her through Facebook.
However, screenshots of the post have already been shared by many individuals and groups.
Responding to this matter, veteran journalist Kazi Abdul Hannan wrote on Facebook: “You are welcome, Information Ministry. You have given the accreditation of a journalist to a businesswoman, and for that we thank you.”
Commenting on Helena’s Facebook post, journalist Khorshed Alam asked how she was able to get that accreditation card despite being a businesswoman.
Meanwhile, senior journalist Manjurul Ahsan Bulbul, editor-in-chief and CEO of ETV, told the Bangla Tribune that a clearly defined policy exists for issuance of accreditation cards to journalists.
Adding that he was a member of the card committee, the senior journalist said: “For availing the card, a freelance journalist must prove his or her eligibility as per the policy.”
He also raised a question on why the committee deemed it fit to award the card to a businesswoman.
“This could be the result of misinformation,” he added.
In a Facebook comment, Dhaka Reporters’ Unity President Sakhawat Hossain Badsha wrote: “As the union president, I am ashamed that this is the minimum requirement for a freelance journalist to receive an accreditation card.”
Meanwhile, when approached for comment, the ministry's Additional Chief Information Officer Fazle Rabbi said: “Helena Jahangir is a published columnist, and she is affiliated with a magazine. She submitted all the necessary documents.
“We have no idea why she would post such a controversial Facebook status. We will look into the matter,” he added.
This story was first published on Bangla Tribune