Bangladesh Bank’s unwritten ban on journalists sparks media outrage, raises concerns for transparency


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Bangladesh Bank’s unwritten ban on journalists sparks media outrage, raises concerns for transparency

BMirror Report:

A dark cloud has settled over the Bangladeshi media landscape with the recent implementation of an “unwritten ban” on journalists entering Bangladesh Bank. This unprecedented move has sent shockwaves through the journalism community, igniting widespread condemnation and raising serious concerns about the country’s commitment to transparency and media freedom.

For over a month, journalists covering economic news have been denied unfettered access to Bangladesh Bank, severely hindering their ability to gather crucial information and report effectively. This restriction, reportedly stemming from an “unofficial directive” from high-ranking officials within the bank, has been met with fierce criticism from major press organizations like the Newspaper Owners Association of Bangladesh (NOAB) and the Editors’ Council.

Nawab president AK Azad and editor council president Mahfuz Anam said this in a joint statement on Tuesday. In the statement, it was demanded to ensure unhindered access of journalists to Bangladesh Bank as soon as possible.

The public will be deprived of their fundamental right to stay informed about the true state of the bank, the financial sector, and the overall health of the national economy. This lack of transparency breeds distrust and hinders accountability, potentially leading to detrimental economic repercussions.

By limiting media access, the central bank fosters a climate of secrecy around its operations, further eroding public trust in the financial institutions and the government itself. This lack of transparency creates fertile ground for speculation and rumors, potentially destabilizing the financial system.

Restricted media scrutiny creates an environment conducive to irregularities and corruption within the banking and financial sector. Without the watchful eye of the press, the potential for unethical practices and financial mismanagement increases significantly, posing a grave threat to the nation’s economic stability.

NOWAB and the Editors’ Council emphasize the vital role journalists have played for over five decades in ensuring transparency and accountability within the financial sector. Their independent access to Bangladesh Bank has been instrumental in uncovering potential issues, promoting responsible practices, and holding financial institutions accountable to the public.

This media blackout has triggered a wave of protests across the journalism community. The Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) held a meeting with the Bangladesh Bank Governor, but the situation remains unresolved. Additionally, prominent journalist organizations like the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ), Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ), and Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) have released strong statements condemning the ban and demanding its immediate withdrawal.

The media stands united in its opposition to this restriction, urging the Bangladesh Bank to reverse this detrimental policy and uphold the principles of transparency and media freedom that are crucial for a healthy democracy and a strong economy. 

The ramifications of this “unwritten ban” extend far beyond the media community. It sends a chilling message about the government’s willingness to restrict access to information and operate in an environment of secrecy. In a nation striving for economic progress and development, fostering a culture of transparency and accountability is paramount. A free press acts as a vital safeguard against corruption and mismanagement, ensuring that the financial sector operates in the best interests of the nation and its citizens.

The media’s call for the immediate withdrawal of this ban is not just a fight for press freedom; it is a fight for the right of the Bangladeshi people to know the truth about the institutions that hold immense power over their economic well-being. The future of a transparent and accountable financial sector hinges on the Bangladesh Bank reversing this detrimental policy and embracing the vital role of a free press in safeguarding the nation’s economic health.



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