TIB strongly condemns BPSA's statement - Dainikshiksha

TIB strongly condemns BPSA's statement

dainikshiksha desk |

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) strongly condemns the Bangladesh Police Service Association's (BPSA) recent statement on journalism and media. TIB views the BPSA's statement as a threat to press freedom. It appears to be a deliberate attempt to hinder the exposure of corruption, particularly in the recent cases of former top police officials who have amassed significant wealth, and an attempt to shield them. 

Strongly criticizing the BPSA statement, TIB Executive Director (ED) Dr. Iftekharuzzaman said, “The statement by the police association dismissing the recent reports of corruption involving former officials raises a red flag. It is not unreasonable to say that such a statement by the police officers’ association potentially indicates a systematic effort to shield those accused within the force.“

He added: “On one hand, this statement by the country's law enforcement officers' association is a direct threat to press freedom and an attempt to suppress the voice of the media. On the other hand, it is a clear violation of the citizens' constitutional right to access information. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the BPSA is attempting to ‘bury its head in the sand like an ostrich’ by essentially denying reality.” 

Dr. Zaman blasted the BPSA's claim that reporting corruption tarnishes the police image. Dr. Zaman pointed out that media reports detailing extensive investigations into corruption by former top police officials are being met with the weak argument of tarnishing the police image. This raises concerns about the police forces’ capability and integrity to stop corruption. A more constructive approach would have been a prompt announcement of an internal investigation or support for an independent probe into these serious allegations. Such a move would demonstrate the force's commitment in tackling corruption.

Highlighting BPSA statement regarding the contribution of the police force for the country, TIB ED said “We always recognize and appreciate the police's contributions in various struggles, disasters, and crises, starting from the war of independence in Bangladesh. However, we cannot recognize their abuse of power and corruption, and let their contribution be used as a license to commit crimes or as a tool to protect criminals. This raises serious ethical concerns about the law enforcement agency.”  

According to news reports, following the statement from the Police Service Association, the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a letter to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to ensure that the media exercise caution when publishing news about the police force. TIB has termed this as an ominous signal, not only for media freedom in the country but also for the entire accountable democratic system.

In this regard, Dr. Zaman pointed out that the Ministry of Home Affairs, tasked with ensuring an environment conducive to information disclosure, appears to be hindering transparency by allegedly concealing information about corruption. This lack of transparency poses a serious concern for a democratic nation committed to public safety. TIB reiterates the need for the Ministry and the BPSA to perform their constitutional duty and carry out a through inquiry into these claims with transparency.

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