The journalist community strongly condemned the move and demanded an explanation from authorities concerned
The Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) probe into the bank accounts of 11 journalist body leaders is a threat to the media freedom in the country, said Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) General Secretary Mosiur Rahman Khan.
“Investigating the bank accounts of journalist leaders is an unprecedented incident in the history of Bangladesh,” he said during a media call at the National Press Club on Saturday.
Reading out a media statement at the press conference, Mosiur said that while a person or institution can be investigated on valid grounds, the move to investigate the finances of all 11 journalists who are leaders of journalist organizations is “ill-motivated.”
“The investigation has made the profession of journalism questionable in the eyes of the people,” he said, adding that it has also created fear among journalists.
Saying that the journalist community strongly condemns the move, the DRU general secretary demanded an explanation and solution from the authorities.
“It is nothing but a ploy to put the government and media against each other,” he said.
Mosiur Rahman Khan pressed that if any of the senior journalists under probe is found to be involved in money laundering or militant activities then that must be published in the media. “If not (involved) then that must be cleared too.”
At the end of the media, the journalist leaders called for a demonstration in front of the National Press Club on Sunday.
BFIU probe against journalists’ bank account
On September 13, BFIU, the central agency that investigates money laundering and suspicious transactions, ordered all banks to send in financial information of 11 senior journalists including the National Press Club President Farida Yasmin and General Secretary Ilyas Khan.
The nine other journalists, whose bank details have been sought, include Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) faction President Kader Gani Chowdhury and its General Secretary Md Shahidul Islam, and Sajjad Alam Khan Tapu, the general secretary of another DUJ faction.
Details of accounts held by presidents and general secretaries of two factions of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) M Abdullah, Nurul Amin Rokon, Mollah Jalal, and Abdul Majid were also sought.
Banks have also been told to provide all financial details of Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU) President Morsalin Nomani and General Secretary Mosiur Rahman Khan.
BIFU has sought all kinds of information on the bank accounts maintained by the senior journalists, including their bank statements, account opening forms with all documents, KYC, transaction profile, transaction details.