He addressed local journalists in Mohanpur upazila who, according to him, ‘disguised behind the noble profession were involved in extortion, drug trade and addiction’
Md Ayeen Uddin, member of parliament from Rajshahi 3 (Paba-Mohanpur) constituency, condemned journalists who have involved themselves in various forms of criminal activities. He expressed his anger saying they should be beaten as there is "nothing more effective."
The video clip of the lawmaker's statement while addressing a public meeting in honour of National Mourning Day, Thursday night at Kesharhat municipality, went viral on social media.
He addressed local journalists in Mohanpur upazila who, according to him, "disguised in the noble profession were involved in extortion, drug trade and addiction."
"The law is strict, yet there is no law greater than a beating. Whenever you find such so-called journalists, catch them and thrash them so hard that they do not dare to show up again," he said.
To a local correspondent, the lawmaker confirmed his statement but said the video clip did not show the complete speech.
"I wanted to say that there is no greater power than the people," he said.
"My statement only refers to those who are engaged in different crimes under cover of journalism, opening web portals," he said, adding that "I made the statement to save the honour of true journalists who are dedicated to upholding justice."
He said Mohanpur upazila was a small area with six unions, one municipality, and 67 wards, but it has at least 76 journalists.
"These journalists and web portals have no office and gatekeepers. So it is not like anyone can register a complaint against them. Whenever the police arrests them, they come out of jail in a few days and re-engage in crimes," he said.
He said he had also told the meeting that his own party, Awami League, has "extortionists" too. In some cases, those extortionists form a syndicate with "criminal journalists," he added.
"Such syndicates have become active these days. It seems like there is competition to become a journalist. Some extortionists of our party maintain close ties with these so-called journalists and together engage in extortion, drug peddling and consumption. They extort from businessmen, developers, officials, NGO workers, and teachers of schools and colleges, threatening to write against them," he said.