There were at least 200 headlines that failed to meet reporting or journalistic standards in that paper in those two years. People are only talking about two – a particular one about Sheikh Hasina, and possibly one on Khaleda Zia and the latter’s former personal aide Mosaddek Ali Falu.

There are hundreds of other headlines that could be questioned in the 25 years of The Daily Star. Questions can be raised about stories published as well as those not published or covered at all. The paper is just one of many Bangladeshi media outlets that do not practise what they preach.

What Sajeeb Ahmed Wazed Joy, the aggrieved son of Sheikh Hasina, possibly referred to when he took to Facebook on 4 February, was the “civil society” campaign – run by the foreign-funded CPD, The Daily Star, Prothom Alo and Channel i – in the run up to the 1/11 takeover in 2007. Meritocracy was all that mattered, they propagated, and “depoliticisation” was the solution.

The campaign and the comment pieces on the front pages in the two papers would have been forgotten footnotes of media and political history if the military-installed caretakers had not taken over and done what they did at the behest of a section of the army and its rogue officers then dominating the intelligence outfit DGFI.

Joy argued, in his own way, that the campaign and the subsequent DGFI-orchestrated media onslaught against the likes of his mother led to their detention, harassment, trial on false charges and solitary confinement.

One would obviously agree with editor Mahfuz Anam that The Daily Star was not alone in publishing the badly-written motivated reports of the DGFI in 2007-8. Its sister concern, Prothom Alo, did the same and even went much further to prepare the ground for any planned offensive from the so-called joint forces that operated mostly under the command of the DGFI. One would remember reading stories – often carried simultaneously by several newspapers – about politicians and business people who would be prosecuted, eventually unsuccessfully, because of lack of professional skills on the part of the prosecutors or because there was simply no merit in the cases framed.

 

 

The language and the flaws and the frail structure of those news stories would give all the clues to any experienced media professional about the source of those “stories”. The newspapers did not even try to make those reports look credible. Not even The Daily Star, then and now the most-circulated English broadsheet in Bangladesh.

On one occasion, one particular former minister of the immediate past BNP government was the target. Prothom Alo devoted its entire front page to stories relating to alleged corruption of that politician. Unlike many of his peers, the politician, who died in July 2010, was never detained or prosecuted but fell out with his party leader because he had to turn “reformist” or else he would be prosecuted.

Those were difficult days for a new news outfit, suddenly shot into prominence with 24/7 updates in two languages reaching millions in Bangladesh and beyond. The vow that no story would be published without each piece of information being attributed to a named source saved bdnews24.com. DGFI operatives wouldn’t be willing to be quoted for any such story, and the unsigned reports on plain paper made no sense for the brave professionals then part of the reporting team as well as the newsroom of Bangladesh’s first Internet-only news outlet.

The first list of 50 “corrupt” people reached the newsroom of bdnews24.com faster than any other on 18 February 2007, several of the senior reporter-colleagues assured. (I remember being surrounded by my colleagues in front of our offices at Dhanmondi Road 27. They didn’t have a convincing argument, they were told.)

No letterhead and no signature and no cover letter, so the pace of delivery failed to make the desired impact. The list was not published by bdnews24.com immediately, while all other news outlets seized the “opportunity”.

These news outlets did not name a source of the crucial information in the banner-headlined story that tainted those 50 as corrupt. They did not even bother to describe the 50 as suspects.

bdnews24.com eventually published the story – the following day, roughly 18 hours after it had obtained the list. The Cabinet member in charge of the home ministry and head of the practically army-run National Committee on Corruption and Serious Crimes confirmed that the list published in the newspaper on the day had indeed been released by the authorities. The bdnews24.com story called them “suspects”, which then led other media outlets to use the word while publishing the subsequent two lists.

Tough journalistic calls had to be made in those days. On one occasion, one of the bdnews24.com news editors at the time received 26 calls from a DGFI colonel to remove a story – a Sheikh Hasina interview aired on the BBC. No other news outlet carried the item. “This is the 26th call I have received from that colonel, what do I do now?” He kept doing what he did best – writing news copies.

Prothom Alo fell into its own trap when it had to publish the third list that included, ironically, its owner Latifur Rahman, who also majority-owned The Daily Star. “Had they only followed the basics of reporting …,” the otherwise untainted businessman Latifur Rahman was reminded by a journalist of bdnews24.com at the formal launch of the Motijheel offices of ABC Radio which he had just acquired.

But what really did motivate Mahfuz Anam (or for that matter Prothom Alo) to do what he did? Was he really acting under duress? It was clear many of the others were. But were Anam or Prothom Alo?

The answers are known to anyone who followed the developments at the time. But history needs recounting for those who were, say, 13 or 14 at the time and are now in their early 20s.

An important question is: Did Mahfuz Anam or Star do it because others were doing it too?

Were they following or leading? What were the compulsions for Star or Mahfuz Anam or others who did it?

Then again, the others have not sought to brand their years of work as “… years of journalism without fear or favour”.

If Mahfuz Anam was fearless, then he was doing the army-run caretaker administration a favour. Possible, because he had advocated such a government run by those from outside the regular, legitimate political process.

“This is our government … we brought this government … so you have to listen to what we say” became the most famous quote attributed to Mahfuz Anam. The statement purportedly made at a meeting with the interim Cabinet member responsible for the information ministry which was attended by dozens of editors has been referred to time and again. One senior journalist, Reazuddin Ahmed, when asked by a live TV talk-show host on 10 Feb, refused to confirm the incident saying he was not present at that meeting. Another senior journalist, Amanullah Kabir, the founding editor of Amar Desh, immediately phoned in to tell the live TV viewers that he was, along with the live TV show participant Reazuddin Ahmed, present and that such a statement had indeed been made by Mahfuz Anam. The senior journalist on the live show did not protest his long-time comrade in the trade union movement.

Coming back to the fear-or-favour question, if Mahfuz Anam was not doing them a favour, then he was doing it out of fear. What was he afraid of? He had money; Star was the most cash-rich paper at the time, with a much bigger kitty than its sister Prothom Alo because of its very low circulation but almost equal advertisement revenue to that of its vernacular sister. It is a fact that all other outlets were suffering a cash crisis and failing to pay their staff. There were papers and TV stations where journalists did not get paid for months.

One would recognise the fact that Mahfuz Anam was not acting under any duress during the 2007-8 army-caretaker regime. He backed it, and so did many others. He has widely been credited with being one of those who had worked towards creating a professional-politician-free political establishment in Bangladesh. Was it a crime? This country, strangely though, has never been unanimous on the issue. Some members of civil society believe the urban elite with some academic or commercial or bureaucratic credentials are better poised to run the affairs of the state. He was one of those and hence supported the likes of Muhammad Yunus. There are of course those that still keep faith in the “half-educated” politicians made accountable through perennially-flawed balloting in a country where fairness means equal opportunity to rig the elections.

Mahfuz Anam can be forgiven for various reasons for what he did.

The Daily Star editor was only being overly ambitious, and clearly saw an opportunity to be a major player in politics. The only problem was that he, along with his civil society comrades, was trying to cut corners to gain political power and in the process maligning senior politicians who could stand in their way. His role in the botched attempt by Muhammad Yunus to float a political party was well-known. Many journalists even knew who hosted the private meetings and what was discussed. And public meetings of that planned political party had the blessings of the army-run administration while all other political actors – including the two major parties and their top leaders – were either officially banned from having any or detained.

Arguments have been aplenty in favour of Mahfuz Anam’s pursuit of political objectives; there are instances galore in the nation’s history, his supporters say. Not all precedents are good enough to be followed, detractors have argued.

There are many, going by the number of newspaper comment pieces, that insist on not blaming Mahfuz Anam for what he did. Because he did it all in good faith. He believed it was the right thing to do under those circumstances. The only problem was he did not know or realise it was not the job of a journalist. He realised that only when he was faced with questions.

Mahfuz Anam must be forgiven, for he had had very little experience in journalism – absolutely no experience in news-gathering and no time spent in the newsroom let alone managing it. Let’s remind everyone of that famous statement by CP Scott, the much-revered editor of The Guardian: Comment, which the Star editor clearly enjoys writing, is free, but facts are sacred.

The editor is being profusely praised for admitting his “mistakes”. Few are pointing out he did so only when he was presented with evidence beyond any reasonable doubt. Until the last second during the ATN News talk-show drama, he had sought to deny any wrongdoing.

The argument that did the rounds immediately after he had come under fire for the “admission” was ‘at least he has admitted it; others haven’t’.

Then three more questions have been raised: 1) why after so many years; 2) why others not being subjected to the same kind of questioning or 3) why others not being named.

The counter-argument has been very simple: the others have not made the mistake he has — bragging about “journalism without fear or favour” and then appearing on a talk show to discuss that ahead of his anniversary celebrations. The third question was answered on the show by Mahfuz Anam himself – everyone did it. Seconds later, he admitted “not everyone”.

Adding to all the hoopla about Mahfuz Anam is the well-known jealousy among some media professionals who believe he got more than he deserved. Anam is not the only one without the required skills or qualifications to have reached the pinnacle of positions in a particular trade. This country is full of such examples. So why blame Mahfuz Anam alone?

He has done very well – after the sad and untimely demise of founding editor S M Ali – steering the paper to top position as competitors perished one by one. Of course the competitors helped; they were busy shooting themselves in the foot.

One is right arguing that he hasn’t been able to do much to promote good journalism but has quite ably kept afloat Bangladesh’s only English newspaper of some standing. More importantly, for its investors at least, he has made more money than any other newspaper since it broke even around the late 1990s.

With the advent of the New Media, the print edition of The Daily Star is under pressure. And it must muster all the support it can. The discussion must not be about individuals here; the concern should be about the institution. Let’s try to save this paper.

We do not support the way he is being harassed or intimidated. The number of cases is mind-boggling and the amount of money being sought in damages staggering. Let this not turn into a personal or political vendetta.

Some tend to suggest that slaughtering one goat will not solve the problem. The counterpoint is, if one goat is found infected with the deadly virus, the goat needs to be taken care of; the cull takes place when all others are identified.

We cannot ask the individuals who have gone to courts around the country to stop suing Anam or asking for damages, but if there’s a government hand in it – as alleged or perceived by some people – we ask the government to put a stop to all this.

We ask the politicians in power to be more magnanimous and not be vengeful. An eye for an eye is not the right approach here. They should be able to forgive and forget, and move on.

Let his readers punish him, or his employers assess him. We ask the management of The Daily Star to introduce a proper editorial process that the paper clearly lacks; that would be one major long-term institutional step towards avoiding any such “mistakes” in future. We must save this newspaper.

Some people have tried to instill a sense of guilt in us because we brought the issue to the public domain. A colleague of mine asked him those difficult questions on 3 February when the show host raised the topic and the Star editor made a faux pas by admitting that those stories were fed by DGFI. And then we did a story because of the magnitude of what he said in public, on live TV, for the first time, although many of us had known before that he and many others did all that. And to those that seek to portray us as the ones out to destroy an individual, who happens to be Mahfuz Anam in this particular case, we only say this: There was nothing written against him as a result of investigative journalism, which some say is a big favour done to him and his spouse – the latter runs something called Manusher Jonno Foundation.

If we all followed that SPJ code of ethics that emphasised media organisations playing a watchdog role when it came to media malpractice, things would have been a lot better for all of us in the media.

But for now, all said and done, we stand by Mahfuz Anam.

Toufique Imrose Khalidiis the Editor-in-Chief of bdnews24.com.

52 Responses to “Stop harassing Mahfuz Anam”

  1. Rubo

    After making a very honest confession Mr Mahfuz Anam is in trouble and being harassed by filing cases against him in all parts of the country. Though these has been filed by individuals , the PM’s salvo against him a few days back only backed the contentions of those. If the PM really wants to try the supporters of 1/11 , she can do that. Many of us will remember that a few days after the 1/11 , Sk Hasina openly declared that the 1/11 government was the result of her movement and she would give legal coverage to all their activities. So there is no denial that she was a strong supporter of 1/11. If any one is to be tried in court for supporting 1/11 , the 1st person to be put on dock should be Sk Hasina , then Awami League and then others.

  2. noyon

    Bah! Shabash! Not! You think birat kichu kore felechen? Do you see any other editors doing this? By letting others peek at Mr Anam’s cupboard, you did a big public service? Na. You only proved him right that you’re the editor of a dinky news site and not of a newspaper. Growing up haven’t you heard that the best revenge is to live well? The kind of time you invested on this article could have been better spent if you wrote about the problem of gender disparity in Bangladesh. You could have cozy up to Eve Ensler and do an in-depth piece on why she thinks by writing the ‘V Monologue’ she has a free ride to write about women’s issues? Duh….you are not the right person perhaps because you only love yourself it appears.

  3. Kishu

    Hello Sir. One day when the shoe is in the other foot, you will realize how it feels to be scorned. Many people are confused by your title and the fact why you chose to write 98 percent negative things about another news personality. Simple minded readers simply did not get your sarcasm. Even with your last line you were doing nothing but pulling people’s leg. Don’t you think it was in poor taste? It was downright sadistic! Most people like to call a spade a spade. They do not make a mockery of a complicated situation. Are you the one and only moral, just, unbiased and conscientious newsman who ever lived? In that case during major upheavals and confusing political scenarios, why do you remain silent? Since you think only you understand better than others, then educate the public. Instead of letting all the useless cucumbers fill up opinion page with useless topics, take to writing a regular column if that will not be a huge challenge. Otherwise I think you are a whole load of crap.

  4. Sam

    The whole MA saga is blown out of proportion and even blind Freddy can see the Govt is fanning the fire here.
    I never met Mahfuz Anam but read some of his stuff over the years. He is not infallible, but his track record as a true patriot is beyond reproach. He has been and is one of the best champions of Bangladesh’s cause. So I, along with most commenters here, reckon, the guy should be left alone. Because, he is more valuable a free man than a man incarcerated.
    The govt must not forget that it came to power through a questionable election, yet our people are wise enough to cut it a slack, because they feel they don’t have an alternative, at least not yet. Hubris however is getting the better of AL, and hubris is sadly clouding its judgement. You see, the government not long ago had waged an unnecessary war on Yunus, and it had won a Pyrrhic victory by bringing our lone Nobel laureate down and by nationalising the Grameen Bank he had founded. Now it’s going after MA and the Daily Star. Yet these folks are not your ordinary critics, because hen they disagree with, or admonish or criticise the government, you know they have no ax to grind. They do it because they deeply care about Bangladesh. We must therefore hang to these folks, and not hang them.
    So, I say to you, the Honourable PM, It’s time to bury the hatchet.

  5. Khalid

    The Editor of bdnews24.com has found Mahfuz Anam guilty but pardoned him. Yes, Mahfuz Anam was politically motivated by not naming the source i.e. DGFI as we sometimes find “according to Reuters”. Besides it was a damning accusations without any bankable proof provided by the Army. I left Bangladesh and have been living away from since 1975. But I do read newspapers everyday and find very few apolitical, Bangladesh or overseas. I remember ,The Daily Azad and The Morning News were pro- Muslim League, Daily Ittefaq was pro- Awami League, Sangram was out and out pro-Jaamat and the daily Sangbad siding with leftist views. In this internet media I can smell some bias and also among those who are giving their valued judgement. I remind the readers in this column that the two most important spirit of the Liberation Movement have been sacrificed – Democracy in 1975 and Secularism in 1980. What we are witnessing now is dynastic democracy, politics of intolerance and hatred. If Prof. Yunus along with Mahfuz Anam and others wanted to form another political party, what was wrong with that? But they chickened out. And there is no dearth of political parties or parasites now. There are 14 party and 20 party alliances plus the so called leftists. দিল্লী হনূয দূর অস্ত । God Bless Bangladesh.

  6. taslima islam

    The Prime Minister is dead right in asking the TDS Editor to resign. Seems like we have forgotten, this Editor and his fellow editor of Prothom Alo are widely known to have been the conspirators with the army and civil intelligence to bring the army and the 2007-2008 army-backed CTG to power. He published false storied originating from the intelligence sources to malign both the AL leader Sheikh Hasina and the BNP leader Khaleda Zia to build the case of the minus-2 formula of the military. Therefore, he should consider it his good luck that much more serious charges have not been brought against him that could be life threatening for him. In any case, we are wasting time here talking of these editors who between them are incapable to writing even one single editorial that would prove to the people they have a role in our society. Like i said here before, who these days reads an editorial anyway? Yet Mahfuz Anam in particular and some of his fellow editors seem believe that they are the conscience keepe of our society….hahahaha!!!

  7. rahim munshi

    To all the readers and commentators. I have some question to you. But before I post these, I declare with 100% honesty that I am neither a supporter of the AL nor of BNP. I am just an ordinary peace loving, pro-progress bengali like 160 million to who the only valuable thing is the country itself and its journey as a secular democracy with the vast majority of its people that are devotees of Sufi version of moderate Islam that easily accommodates the values of liberation war without any inner conflict. I am one of these 160 million of my countrymen.
    My questions are:
    1. Why on earth is Ershad still on free foot? Why can´t anybody try him?
    2. Why is Shamim Osman of Narayanganj walking free?
    3. Please forgive me for this question: Have we seen the trial of the killers of Ziaur Rahman? Who killed him and why?
    4. Why is the AL government stone deaf on the murders of the bloggers and the publishers?
    5. How on earth is this possible that only one person´s “mistake” ( Mr Anam) can lead to what the PM told yesterday sufferings of so many people? A new born baby won´t accept this logic that Mr Anam alone was responsible for the sufferings and imprisonment of Hasina et al.
    6. I know the AL has come to power in a sham election. As BNP is a dead body, it is the lesser of two evil choices that Hasina should finish her term sitting on power granted to her by a sham democracy.
    7. If the BNP takes advantage of the situation and stages protests after protests, would that bring any good to the people? Major Hafiz has started shouting already. Probably righty so as the Anam issue is a political hotcake of the town righ tnow. ( it was ALs mistake to politicise this issue)
    8. Isn´t it better then to resolve the cases against Mr Anam as fast as possible so that some other opportunists would not be able take the advantage and cause harm to the country?
    9. So many readers have hurled verbal abuses to Mr Anam that I won´t let my young daughter read BD news24.com for weeks and weeks. Where have you been my friends before that Munni Saha´s talk show on ATN?
    10. There are so many dishonest people and traitors in the country that by indicting Mr Anam won´t help the ultimate goal of making the country a place worth living.
    Joy Bangla.

    • m zaman

      Pulling another Yunus 🙁

      Yunus is too a big fish for the puny little to pull him down.

      Anam, however, has no chance since both the prince and the queen are in the fray now …

    • Ak A Hossain

      The answer is simple: taking on Daily Star and its editor is politically beneficial to AL now! It is politics of convenience. I appreciate your guts Rahim Munshi.

  8. Mustaq Ahmed

    Mr. Zqs………. reading a few books on Political Science might help your understanding of Democracy.
    Look at our Masters in India. Even they tolerate opposing view points and have “Coalition governments” but that concept maybe beyond your comprehension level!!!

  9. M. Emad

    Mahfuz Anam/ Sheikh Hasina ‘dispute’ is the continuation of the Abul Mansur Ahmed/ Sheikh Mujib (1950’s-60’s).

    Sons and daughters (& close relatives) of the Bengali leaders — who opposed Sheikh Mujib’s politics in Pakistan era — are now opposing Sheikh Hasina (and dead Sheikh Mujib/ Awami League) in different platforms in independent Bangladesh. S/D of Abul Mansur Ahmed, Abul Hashim, Oli Ahad, Maulana Bhasani, Fakir Abdul Mannan, Farid Ahmed, Abdul Jabbar Khan, Kafiluddin Ahmed, Khwaja Khairuddin etc are examples.

  10. habib

    Hats off to the writer , touched the core point : This country, strangely though, has never been unanimous on the issue. Some members of civil society believe the urban elite with some academic or commercial or bureaucratic credentials are better poised to run the affairs of the state. He was one of those and hence supported the likes of Muhammad Yunus. There are of course those that still keep faith in the “half-educated” politicians made accountable through perennially-flawed balloting in a country where fairness means equal opportunity to rig the elections.

  11. Nemal

    সংবিধানের ৭ক অনুচ্ছেদে বলা হয়েছে ঃ “কোন ব্যক্তি কোন অসাংবিধানিক পন্থায় সংবিধানের কোন অনুচ্ছেদ রদ বা স্থগিত করিলে কিংবা করার উদ্যোগ বা ষড়যন্ত্র করিলে কিংবা কোন বিধানের প্রতি নাগরিকের আস্থা ,বিশ্বাস বা প্রত্যয় পরাহত করিলে তাহার এই কার্য রাষ্ট্রদ্রোহিতা হইবে এবং ঐ ব্যক্তি রাষ্ট্রদ্রোহিতার অপরাধে দোষী হইবে ”
    এখন প্রশ্ন ঃ এই দীর্ঘমেয়াদি সেনা নিয়ন্ত্রিত তত্থাবধায়ক সরকার কি সাংবিধানিক নাকি অসাংবিধানিক ? যদি অসাংবিধানিক হয় তাহলে মাহফুজ আনাম তাদেরকে অসাংবিধানিক পন্থায় ( ভুল খবর প্রচার করে ) নাগরিকের আস্থা , বিশ্বাস পরাহত করে রাষ্ট্রদ্রোহিতার দোষে দোষী কেন হবে না ?
    দণ্ডবিধি ১০৮ ধারা অনুসারে , যে ব্যক্তি কোন অপরাধ বলে গণ্য কোন কাজ সংঘটনে বা অপরাধ বলে গণ্য কোন কাজ সংগঠনে সহায়তা করেন , সেই ব্যক্তি অপসহায়তাকারি বলে গণ্য হবেন । ১০৯ নম্বর ধারাতেও একই কথা বলা হয়েছে এবং ফৌজধারি কার্যবিধি ২৩৯ ধারা অনুসারে অপসহায়তাকারির বিরুদ্ধে অভিযোগ গঠন করার কথাও উল্লেখ আছে ।
    দ্বিতীয় প্রশ্ন ঃ মাহফুজ আনাম যে অপরাধ বলে গণ্য (ভুল সংবাদ পরিবেশন করে) অপরাধ করে, আবার ভুল স্বীকার করে যদি পার পেয়ে যান তাহলে কি সংবিধানের ২৭ অনুচ্ছেদ খর্ব হবে না ?

  12. Omar Faroque

    ” Questions can be raised about stories published as well as those not published or covered at all.”
    ” And to those that seek to portray us as the ones out to destroy an individual, who happens to be Mahfuz Anam in this particular case, we only say this: There was nothing written against him as a result of investigative journalism, which some say is a big favour done to him and his spouse – the latter runs something called Manusher Jonno Foundation.”
    Don’t you see any contradiction ?

  13. Zsiddique

    I think the wrong guy is taking all the pounding here. I admire Mr. Anam. But at the same time his actions during the army backed care taker period should be condemned. The main opportunist at that time was Dr. Yunus. Why is people afraid to take him on? Spare Mr. Anam and get to the root people!

  14. জাহাঙ্গীর আলম বকুল

    নির্বাচিত রাজনৈতিক সরকার খারাপ, কিন্তু অনির্বাচিত নির্দলীয় সরকার তার বিকল্প হতে পারে না।

  15. habib

    মাহফুজ আনাম সাহেব ভূল স্বীকার করেছে ভেবেছেন ?? এটা হল ডঃ ইউনুসের আরেকটা চাল । ।

    DGFI এর দেওয়া নিউজ ছেপেছে মাহফুজ আনাম, তাহলে কি DGFI খালেদা জিয়ার নামে কোন তথ্য লিখতে বলেনাই ? গ্রেফতার তো তাকেও করেছিল ।

    মাহফুজ আনাম জননেত্রী শেখ হাসিনার বিরুদ্ধে মিথ্যাচার করল , কিন্তু খালেদা জিয়ার বিরুদ্ধে নয়– কেন ??

    তার মানে কি এই না ১/১১ এ খালেদা জিয়ার গ্রেফতার ছিল শুধু আই-ওয়াশ ?? এবংব্যালেন্সের রাজনীতি । আসল টার্গেট ছিল জননেত্রী শেখ হাসিনা , আওয়ামিলীগ ???
    এবং এত বছর পরে এসে বলছে – ওহ ভুল হয়ে গেছে !! – এবং কিছু লোক বলছে বাস হয়ে গেছে ।।
    জননেত্রী শেখ হাসিনাকে বিনা অপরাধে বিনা বিচারে ১১ টা মাস আটকে রেখে সারা দুনিয়ার সামনে চোরের অপবাদ দিল তার কি কোনবিচার হবেনা ? জননেত্রী শেখ হাসিনা কি এই দেশে বিচার পাবেনা ??

    DGFI এর দেওয়া নিউজ ছেপেছে মাহফুজ আনাম — এইটা আরেকটা মিথ্যা কথা । উনি নিজে এইসব বাজে কথা বানাই বানাই ছাপাইছে আর উনার সাথে ছিল প্রথম আলোর মতি । ঐ সময় DGFI এর ব্রিগেডিয়ার জেনারেল আমিন এবং বারী কে উল্টা এইসব ফাউল তথ্য দিছে উনারা এই ২জন আর ২ বুইরা বান্দর ডঃকামাল হোসেন এবং ডঃইউনুস ।। এরা মিথ্যাবাদী , ভন্ড , এরা নিজ মাত্ত্রিভুমির সাথে চোগলঘোরী করছে। ইতিহাস একদিন এদের মীরজাফরের কাতারে দারা করাবে । আমি দাড়া করাবো ।।

    একদিকে মাহফুজ আনামের ভুল স্বীকার অন্যদিকে কুলদীপ নায়ারের ইউনুস কে সরকারের বিশেষ দুত করার চাপ-রিকোয়েষ্ট কি আসলে ভুল স্বীকার নাকি নতুন চাল ??
    ভুল স্বীকার করিয়ে বাংগালী কে বুজ দেওয়া যেন বাংগালী চুপ থাকে, আর সেই ফাকে উনার আক্রমনটা সেরে ফেলবে – এই হল ভুল স্বীকারের প্রথম প্যাচ , আরও তো কি বাকী আছ আল্লাহই ভালো জানেন ।

    ১/২ টা পত্রিকার রিপোর্ট এবং শেখ হাসিনা সম্পর্কে মিথ্যাচার কিন্তু মাহফুজ আনামের পুরো অপরাধ না ।
    আর সেই জন্যে কিন্তু এত কথা বলা না । তিনি ১/১১ কে সমর্থন দিয়ে এই দেশের গনতন্ত্র কে এবং আওয়ামিলীগকে হত্যার ষড়যন্ত্র পরিকল্পনা বাস্তবায়ন করেছিল ।
    শেখ হাসিনা কে অন্যায়ভাবে গ্রেফতারে সহযোগীতা এবং দীর্ঘ ৯ মাস বিনা বিচারে আটকে রাখার ব্যাপারে এমন কোন সহযোগীতা নাই ইউনুসের ইশারায় মাহফুজ আনাম করেনাই । এটা কি সাংবাদিকতা নাকি সাংবাদিকতার ভূল ? এটা পরিস্কার অন্যায় , যা তারা করেছে ।।
    তখনকার প্রেশারের কথা বলছে এখন , এখন আমরা প্রেশার দিচ্ছি তার কি হবে ?? আসলে এই প্রেশার ট্রেশার এসব শাক দিয়া মাছ ঢাকার চেষ্টা ।
    ২ ডা মিথ্যা কথা ১ টা পত্রিকার রিপোর্ট তো স্যাম্পল মাত্র । আওয়ামিলিগকে হত্যার পুরো নীলনকশা বাস্তবায়ন করেছিল কিন্তু শেষ পর্যন্ত পারেনি । পরাজিত হয়েছে ।
    এক পাতামিথ্যা কথা লেখার জন্যে তাকে সাংবাদিকতা ছারতে বলা হয়নি ।

    ১/১১ ছিল ইউনুসের আওয়ামীলীগ কে হত্যার আক্রমন । মাহফুজ আনাম লোভ ক্ষমতা দখল এবং লূটপাটের জন্যেই ১/১১ এর সাথে ছিল । এবং এখনও এই ভুল স্বীকার নাটক ও লিগেসী অব বাটপারির অংশ মাত্র ।
    তার পিতা আবুল মনসূর একজন চোর ছিল যিনি এই দেশে চুরিকে শিল্পের পর্যায়ে নিয়েছিল । এবং মাহফুজ আনাম ও তার ব্যাতিক্রম না

    • golam arshad

      DEAR ALL:

      As the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stepped into ” Anam Debate” I do reserve henceforth, any further COMMENT!

      Golam Arshad
      Former Press Minister
      Embassy of Bangladesh
      Washington DC

      • masum

        Some Anam sycophants have been yelling over facebook titling the editor of TDS a great man. They wailed saying he (Mahfuz Anam) did confess whereas no one does! According to these sycophants the standard of honesty is committing crime thereafter admitting standing over the damages have been caused by it, thus opportunists become great men, as long as Awami league people were readers whereupon The Daily Star and Prothom-Alo had been popular to the extent , since readers realized these two publications have been repeatedly challenging the existence of Awami League, readers got disenchanted, these two print media might have number of publications however their reputation of authenticity is now suffering from self corrosive.
        He (M.A) had been engaged in forgery and malcontent publishing; however Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina still has been forgiving him. Editor Anam should have had known as an editor with political aspiration he has failed in mastering at skills to become greater than Awami League.

  16. rahim munshi

    Now after Sheikh Hasina´s speech, the Anam issue is fully politicized and has become more complex. Therefore, it no longer in the domain of journalism. It has become a public affair. I feel hopeless for several reasons. 1) He ( Mr Anam) might end up in jail and suffer “solitary confinement” under inhuman conditions for years. 2) This apparently upper class elitist problem may generate enough energy to incite a country wide protest against heavy handed judgement on an individual for a mistake that he has publicly begged apology for 3) An anarchy is not far away if any of the two possibilities see light.
    How can we save Mr Anam and in the end the country? One thing is pretty much sure that the AL Govt must survive until the next election for the greater interest of the nation. How can a formula be etched out to save both the AL Govt and Mr Anam? Is it possible?
    Can the press council approach Sheikh Hasina for an apology or can Mr Anam resign from the Editorial duty ( and remain as a regular columnist instead)? Might this move soften Hasina? Can Amnesty International be of help? Can the EU parliament made to make a request to Hasina? Who knows?
    I understand that the BD news is a pro AL news website. At the same time BD news also is part of the broader journalistic collegiality and hence some constructive role to play in seeking to make the Hasina govt to withdraw all charges.
    Mr Khalidi, you said that you would stand my Mr Anam. If you are really serious and if you really mean what you say, can you please do some national and International lobbying in favour of Mr Anam, please?

  17. MMC

    Surprisingly, you choose to remain silent on the numerous editorials and leaders that Mr. Anam’s paper published opposing the caretaker govt’s actions. If it was Mr. Anam’s govt, he wouldn’t publish that front page photograph of a civilian kicking a man in uniform at Shahbag during the uprising. While it may be true that Mr.Anam isn’t a saint, he had the guts to admit his mistakes. When was the last time we heard another journalist or politician or professional or bureaucrat saying so?

    • sundar

      no , he didn’t admit his mistake out of his so called guts but being failed to defend his actions in the tv talk show he admitted it to save his self esteem.

  18. Rownok

    Your article at first seems like you try to open the musk of Mr. Anam, and save The Daily Star. But later you directly stand for this man!!
    Like Daily Star, Prothom Alo should be punished. Like Mahfuz Anam, Motiur Rahman has no “experienced” in editorship. This two business man cum editors did the same thing in 2007. Then why not you included anything about Motiur Rahman in your article?
    Yes Sir… you can save The Daily Star.. but not Mahfuz Anam. That I can assure you.

    • nimmi

      Engreji lekhte parona, bangla te lekho. You are an embarrassment to everyone.

  19. anonymous

    you must be kidding here by saying the daily star is the best show in town! simply not true. look around and you will see which papers have the best columnists. most of anam’s good editors are gone. you sound condescending and out for blood and i don’t mind adding to that you’re full of yourself. you wrote this piece with one intension only…to malign him some more, whereas you want to smell like roses. didn’t work, don’t you see? your fake plea to the government was just a cover and now the PM is also asking for his resignation. MA now reminds me of NBC’s evening World News anchor Brian Williams, who was the best TV anchor but he once made a serious mistake of over exaggerating when he reported that during the Gulf War, he himself was regularly with the army guys who were serving in combat-posts and was reporting from there dodging bullets. that white lie cost him his career and now he has been demoted to some desk job. only person who came to his defense was his daughter who vouched for him who happens to be a good dad. Americans can bite the bullets and take indignities. for the sake of propriety, I think MA should take PM’S advice and resign. Never liked that paper and do not follow it since i had stopped writing for them a few years back. Joy should be happy to hear that my very first op ed column was about him and i am ONLY thankful to Zafar Sobhan who was the op ed editor during that time for publishing each & every article of mine. indirectly, i suppose i am thankful to MA for giving me space in his paper. that’s all i got to say. may we be kind to one another!

  20. Shahabuddin

    Any one of you all (I mean readers) can be destroyed for one single unintentional mistake in life. I know, because it happened to me. Many of you may or will have the same experience.
    Why should a journalist be an exception? Why should they be above law?

    Would someone please educate me?

    • N

      No one is above law…even though there are bumps and rough edges that divert from that statement in this country…eitherways.. So, the thing is, this man has touched many people’s lives and we respect him. And when a person you respect gets harassed and defamed like that it bothers/offends you. So you debate over the fact whether these acts towards him are justifiable or not, and no, in my opinion they are not. We all have our own thoughts so it might contradict with the others.
      And maybe what happened to you was not ok either, and if I knew you and thought that too, i might have stood up for you as well.

    • rahim munshi

      Mr Shahabuddin, I am not educated enough to educate you on this. I can only say that the gravity of the mistake would determine the mode and degree of punishment.
      In this case, Mr Anam did not make a mistake: It was en “error of judgement”, as Mr Anam has described his action during that extremely volatile period.
      Once again, there is no black and white answer to this philosophical issue, neither in a personal life nor in a national life. Think about Muhammad Ali Jinnah and his way of creating Pakistan that he himself told in plain English later that it was a mistake to “break India” and that he regretted his action during the 1940s.
      Tony Blair admitted ( albeit half heartedly) that it was a mistake to attack Iraq ( how grave was that mistake!!…possibly the worst mistake in the history of International politics of modern times). Similarly, it was a mistake ( or error of hudgement) on part of Angela Merkel to open the flood gates for Syrian refugees. Consequences of this mistake will probably haunt Europe for decades and decades to come.
      CIA chief admitted that “minus Assad” formula in Syria was a mistake!! Now the world is helplessly watching the evil consequence of that mistake.
      Now judge yourself the “mistake” allegedly committed by Mr Anam.
      Thanks.

  21. M. Faizul Haq

    With this latest controversy that Mr. Anam has found himself is not surprising given that we are now thriving in a culture of lawsuits, judicial activism, demonization of political opposition and free expressions, and of course, free use of terms like sedition, razakar, anti-liberation etc. for personal profit and personnel abuse is rampant that they can be said to be abusing the words. Perhaps the old age of Mr. Anam overtook his intelligence when he spoke his mind in the talk-show (with an gottacha! Intention ?) that has caused this uproar, or perhaps in his infinite wisdom Mr. Anam thought he could prove to be an ideal by spilling his guts. The author feels ‘indignant’ over this humiliation of Mr. Anam, but where was he and many of his fellows when we have other journalists and editors being abused and deprived of civil rights with suits that need more digits in hand to keep count of? His indignation is self-serving to further his own publication and self. Sorry to say that many journalists from the writer’s and other newspapers serve as mouthpieces for forces that suit their personal or owner’s agenda. Gloss over newspapers of ‘democratic’ Bangladesh and figure out how many folks have spoken objectively over misuse of these terms and methods. It may do good for this author and many in this profession to reflect upon and ponder if their actions have been “Utquomque est ventus, quasi navi in mari (From whatever direction the wind is, the sail is trimmed accordingly. Poenlus Plautus, 754 AD.). These will all come to pass. Reflect upon the words of Neimuller – “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak Because I was not a Socialist …. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me”. One has to go back a few months to some forum discussions where Mr. Anam and this writer were there and the scorn between the two is well known and scorn was heaped upon jailed editor of Amardesh. All our institutions are failing after so much struggle to free ourselves from Pakistan masters. We have proven that we have the creativity and cunningness to redouble the bad deeds committed by Pakistan. No need to shed crocodile tears, Mr. writer. The bell will toll for all. No wonder there is now term for business model driven journalism and for journalists that further the causes of others. They are called ‘press-titutes’.

  22. siraj

    It is the custom of Awami League. Our Bangabandhu while a student of Islamia college in Kolkata played a important role in saving Musim children from riot torn city.

  23. arif

    I would rather question your own piece that offers pledge of support for Anam in headline (and in last line), but, in a u-turn, performs assassination of his character in the whole body.

  24. Anwar A. Khan

    Dear Mr. Khalidi,

    I have read an extraordinarily good or great; used especially as an intensifier opinion write-up. You have done something notable. It is more to get the readers like us to see that there is a larger problem at hand.

    The piece is found as a mix of fact and opinion; not solely the writer’s opinion, but the opinion of the entire thoughtful people. Your presentation of fact collection have included objective research.

    It contains at least one point of enlightenment which can be described as an observation that is fresh and original. So, your facts presented from a number of different grounds, pointing out patterns, impending consequences, or a hole in current analysis.

    The write-up is for a fairly quick, captivating read. They are not meant to go on for pages and pages, belaboring the point. Nor are they meant to make the average we feel as if we have missed something. It is not a compilation of esoteric philosophical theories but the facts only.

    It is like snappy and fiery piece and so, it is much more captivating than a wordy lecture. It is with a thesis-like statement. Clearly you have stated your arguments. The rest of your write-up is based on supporting this opinion; covered all your bases and pulled in facts from relevant sources. This ensures that every reader has at least a base knowledge and an non-skewed one of the topic at hand.

    You have made sure to identify the groups who may oppose you or else the movers of the debate will become foggy. You stated your opinions objectively, using accurate facts. Never use slander.

    It is fine to state positive things about the opposing side, if they are factual. It shows that you are taking the moral high road and giving a balanced overview. If you neglect to air the good side of your opposition, your article will come off biased and uninformed.

    You have given the opposition an actual argument, and a strong one at that. You gain nothing from refuting a non-issue. You have made it clear the opposing group’s beliefs and what they are advocating.

    It has started with strong reasons that only get stronger. You have not only felt limited to existing opinions but also added your own, too. Whatever your reasons are, you have made sure to clearly come down on one side of the argument; and there is no room for gray area here.

    Your statement is very clear, rational, and doable. It cannot only work in a vacuum. What is more, it is compelling. Ideally, your readers will be drawn to action with the information and answers you have presented. A note-worthy statement would forever engrave the editor into the reader’s mind.

    You have ended with a hard-hitting summary; you may have a few readers who scanned your piece absent-mindedly. All in all, your audience should leave feeling more informed and moved to do something further about the issue.

    In your words, I wish to say: “Stop harassing Mahfuz Anam.”

    Thank you very much, Mr. Khalidi.

      • Anwar A. Khan

        Ms. Nimmi,

        More than a billion USD and I have built up a big empire with this money. More money is in the pipeline.

        I welcome this comment though it is tortuous.

  25. A K M Jamal Uddin

    Stop hiding the crimes of Mahfuz Anam. Please help the nation to bring this self confessed criminal to justice.

  26. sundar

    ” but if there is a government hand in it” -this rider clause, to my mind, used by this author is a very clever ploy to demonstrate to the public eyes his pristine honesty and probity as a professional journalist. from this write up one can safely assume that he knows many things that happens behind the curtain and i am more than sure that he knows it for certain that the government has a hand overt or covert behind the cases being filed by every tom dick and harry through out the country . he himself has given a long list of accusations, possibly collected at the cost of many nights sleep, which is more than sufficient to make Mafuj Anam appear in the public eye as a black sheep in the fraternity of news paper editors in Bangladesh. but his hypocrisy is clearly manifested when he adds the sentence ”all said and done we stand by Mahfuj Anam”. I know that in the name of moderation this comment might go unpublished , but still ……..

  27. M.R.Khan

    Joy opened the gate to family loyal fanatics through court case against daily star editor mahfuz anam. These political fanatics are upto MP nomination or projects tender win. It is noticiable awami league party or sk .hasina family didn’t filed any case agaist mahfuz anam yet. When bango bando introduced baksal khandakar mustaq joined baksal gladly as executive member ‘ zia joined baksal without complaining . so who loyal learn from history

  28. Fahim

    This pathetic attempt of compassion & display of some sort of loyalty can be seen as if you are doing nothing but hanging him to dry. I think there was no need to write such an elaborate list of all the things the other editor is guilty of doing. I think there is some sort of vendetta going on from long ago. Your article doesn’t go with your title because all you have done is come up with more accusations against MA. I think this is as low as it can get. It is obvious even to a blind person that you are neither his friend nor a wellwisher. Did you have to drag his wife into this? This whole thing about the other guy is ridiculous. Just tell me why should I care about all this? My worries onlyconcern my life and not interested in smelling other people’s dirty laundry. After glancing through your looooong piece, I wish I could say that you came across as someone fair. When someone is down, it is not a good thing to throw more punches at him. Neither a classy nor a manly thing to do. I don’t think this comment will be posted but as long as you read it and makes you think……

  29. taslima islam

    Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

    Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Mr Editor, this is a quotation that you should read out to Mr. Mahfuz Anam and your fellow editors. As for you Editors, as you read this, ask people sitting around you, if anyone of them has in recent times read one single editorial. If they are honest, no one will say he/she has. Bangladesh is the only country where despite your pretensions, you guys are the most redundant section of the society. Your are editors in name but nothing else in deed.

  30. People

    hahahaha not very surprising. Mr. Imrose Khalidi, as usual, while claiming himself to be a saint and high standard calibre of journalism, he displays himself again as a puppet of Sheikh Hasina’s government.

    He might have written this piece also to display pretending to be condemning the harassment of Mahfuz Anam. But, the reality remains as reality: The Daily Star is by far the most impartial daily English news paper in Bangladesh. It has both commended and criticised every government for their successes as well as corruption, unlike bdnews24 – always jumping to the tune of AL government.

  31. Jisan

    Did you write this piece to support him or bash him? Very clever! Whatever, we should understand that the journalism practice in Bangladesh won’t improve as long as Editors/Editor-in-chiefs who do not have proper academic degree in journalism or media are chosen for the top media job.

  32. Mumu

    The whole thing reads like macher Maa’er putra shoak. Sorry but that’s what it is! I’m sure others would agree here. After weeks of printing all kinds of innuendos about Anam sahib, and by helping a lot of the readers forming a negative opinion about him – now you are standing by him? I can very well sympathise with Joy because as a son he has every right to demand justice. What I’m having trouble with is how you suddenly took a 360 turn as if your website had nothing to do in putting more fuel into fire instead of refusing to be a voice of reason. Also I think it is very arrogant of you as an editor to dismiss other reputable English dailies as not important enough except the daily star. Do you hear yourself?Some of the other dailies are in circulation for more than two decades. By boldly saying such things about other papers, you are only going to isolate Yourself. At least they were professional enough to defend another editor and voiced their opinion. Or perhaps you thought better late than never? Only you know the truth. I think in the big scheme of things, Anam is not that important to be getting so much coverage. He is just a guy who studied economics and not journalism, just like most editors in Dhaka. So no one is better than the other. Can you people now put this Anam business to rest and move on? Please?

  33. golam arshad

    My Dear Editor Taufique Imrose Khalidi: It is a deep irony that transparency lack in our media too! You may say everywhere! You are absolutely right! The recent tangle or broughaha concerning a distinguish media personality an Editor! I wonder the Mess in the coveted Pandora’s box started spilling out, the secretive garbage that lumped up over several decades! We know our flaws, we regret profoundly the mistakes occurred then or even NOW! Finally and I quote your conclusive line…” we must stand by Mahfuz Anam”. (End quote).

  34. Rahim Minshi

    Thanks Mr Khalidi for trying to ward off some of the clouds surrounding Mr Anam and the accusations against him. However, your stand is a bit contradictory> one on hand you are in fact accusing Mr Anam by questioning his journalistic ethics and on the other hand you are standing by him. By doing so you have brought alive the issues of praxis of journalism and the financial realities surrounding it in Bangladesh over the past one decade that is of course a big plus for the readers in general (this should be widely circulated in Bangla, as every concerned Bengali has a right to this sensitive information).
    I am living outside Bangladesh for decades now but as a Bengali I am deeply concerned about the state of affairs in my country of birth. One of the main reasons that I am supporting Mr Anam is because of his uncompromising stand on the values of liberation war and his patriotism as well as his emotional attachment to secular Bengali nationalism that I also hold dearly and proudly in my heart.
    Like Mr Anam, a lot of concerned citizens of the country wanted to create a third platform of politics in the country. I do not blame him/them at all because we have seen how the political culture in Bangladesh was about to take the country to the verge of extinction during those days of political agitation, murders, mayhem and hartals, months long curfews etc. These civil mayhem was one of the reasons that many like me have decided to leave the country forever. Many chose to stay on and Mr Anam is one of them and possibly wanted a way out of the political mayhem and to create an intellectual-professional based political platform. In the process he may have made some error of judgements. If the Haisna Government is so sensitive about those published reports that were supplied by DGFI, why her government is not doing anything against the DGFI??
    Now there is a bigger existential threat in Bangladesh and that is emergence of radical Islam that stands in sharp contrast to the core values of Bangladesh. Today the Islamic State has confessed that it was behind the murder of a Hindu Priest in his monastery. What is going on really? Hasina is completely silent on this issues but has unleashed her party cadres to file cases after cases against Mr Anam. We all know Hasina´s fault line and her willingness not to hurt the feelings of ordinary Muslims for fear of losing their votes in any future election. In this hour of existential crisis, the nation needs the service of Mr Anam. In fact, probably this is the best of all times to create a third political platform that can proxy as a viable opposition as BNP is now in all probability exists only under its grave. I as a Bengali like you also stand by Mr Anam and urge Hasina´s AL government to free Mr Anam from all charges. Actually, her government should indict those DGFI officials for running manufactured stories through news dailies under coercion, threat and duress. Joy Bangla.

    • Mustaq Ahmed

      It is obvious Mr. Minshi is educated and live abroad .
      You reason and talk sense. Do you really believe the people in power in Bangladesh understand what a third party political party platform means? I think not. AL and BNP are two peas of the same pod. Their idea of democracy is winner takes all.

      Pakistanis killed the Bangladeshi intellectuals during the liberation war and Hasina and her pets has silenced them in Bangladesh by accusing them of conspiracy. The development that has occurred in Bangladesh is not because of the government but despite them.

      Mr. Anam is only guilty is speaking the truth. A rare commodity among the ruling class which has earned Bangladesh the dubious distinction of being one of the most corrupt countries in the world. The PM will tell you that is another “conspiracy” by foreigners that must be silenced immediately.

      • Zqs

        Where in the world do we ha e the looser take something? Democracy in itself is designed to give everything to the winner.

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