In a show of sheer disregard for press freedom , Bangladesh Nationalist Party now launched fresh assault warning journalists of dire consequences unless they toe the line ahead of the election.
The threat came from a post from the verified Facebook page called BNP Media Cell.
Claiming their movement “struggle for democracy” the post reads “ We are putting a tight lease on every media— who are with our struggle for democracy and who are with autocrat”.
While in a democracy, free media embodies the freedom to hold both the government and the opposition accountable but BNP’s dictum seeks to muzzle and terrorise media from operating freely.
The power of media in a democracy lies in the concept that journalists should spare none — ruling party and opposition both..
But this direct threat from the party’s media cell clearly expose the extreme intolerant face of the party and points to the threat BNP pose for media if comes to power.
Importantly, this latest threat by BNP is not one off rather a wave of similar threats in the past already issued by party leadership belies their commitment to safeguard the rights for journalists whose job is to write and broadcast events.
What intriguing is the use of democracy tag by BNP as no form of democarcy would allow any party to issue such direct threat against press.
Even in a space of last couple of years, the leaders repeatedly assaulted journalists who ran critical reports but no action has been taken so far.
Earlier Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, the top leader, publicly lashed out against television channels over brodadcast of critical reports.
He even called critical media reports are backstabbing their movement for democracy.
Earlier another senior journalist revealed BNP-Jamaat cadres forced journalists to broadcast gory images of petrol bombings perpetrated by BNP Jamaat cadres between 2013 and 2015.
The last rule of BNP Jamaat led combine, between 2001 and 2006, saw an unprecedented pogrom including killing of journalists who were critical of militants but the killers were allowed with impunity by the then government.