Bangladeshi journalists to be monitored abroad19 May, 2017
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF) express serious concerns over the government’s instruction to its missions abroad to monitor activities of all traveling Bangladeshi journalists. The IFJ believes such blanket monitoring is an unnecessary harassment on journalists and should not be carried out.
On May 17, Bangladesh’s foreign ministry directed all its missions to monitor the activities of the Bangladeshi journalists traveling abroad and find out whether they are involved in any anti-state activities. The ministry instructed all its missions to take the matter seriously.
According to The Daily Star, the letter, signed by the director general of the External Publicity Wing, says the decision was made in line with the recommendations of the parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs. Early this month, the committee had said any Bangladeshi journalist traveling abroad should be monitored and if their activities are found to be against “the interest of the country”, the foreign missions should report back to the ministry about it. The instruction reportedly came in the wake of visit of some Bangladeshi journalists’ to Pakistan on invitation of Pakistan government.
The IFJ said: “The IFJ is concerned that such instruction by the government is against the principle of independence of media and could be used to harass journalists while traveling abroad or returning back. Such an instruction also stereotype journalists as those involved in anti-state activities and increase hostility towards journalists. The IFJ demands that the Bangladesh government should immediately withdraw the instruction.”