Despite the British withdrawal from South Asia seventy years ago, it often pays to be an Englishman in our part of the world. The best example : David Bergman.
Married to Sara Hossain, daughter of senior Opposition politician Kamal Hossain who resents the Awami League for entirely personal reasons, David Bergman’s initial foray into journalism in Bangladesh was fraught with failures.
His environmentalist activism in India’s Bhopal city, hit by an Union Carbide gas leak, has given the first taste of success as an activist.
His marriage to Sara Hossain colored his vision of Bangladesh politics — anything Awami League was bad, unacceptable, fit to oppose.
With the BNP-Jamaat coalition out of power, Bergman turned to deposed radicals for a new career : political consultancy. An euphemism for political activism under the garb.
He, according to sources, signed up for a three-point contract — (a) defame, debunk and demean the Awami League by means fair or foul (b) project BNP and Jaamat e Islami as the only credible alternative in Bangladesh. (c) oppose and undermine the credibility of the International War Crimes Trials through constant legal sniping, so-called media exposes and constant lobbying in Western countries .
As a born British, he was suited for the job.
But somewhere down the line, through his media contacts, he sneaked in. Having worked for a while in Bangladesh’s English media, Bergman managed to project himself an ‘independent analyst’ , a worthwhile country contributor out of Bangladesh.
Though the big media in the West avoided him , his writing was accepted in the Al Jazeera, a new Middle East TV channel and online media, where a number of controversial journalists had moved.
But his reporting was motivated by one single purpose — bring down the Awami League government. It focussed on ceaseless attacks on national institutions of Bangladesh. 2020 was a dull year for him but as it now transpires, he was busy planning, setting up and doing up the so-called Al Jazeera Investigations , now aired with a highly misleading and intentionally spun title “All The Prime Minister’s Men.”
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“Al Jazeera introduced him in the TV documentary as an independent analyst which he is not . He has been pulled up in Bangladesh courts for running down the casualty figure in the Liberation War.” said Bangladesh watcher Sukhoranjan Dasgupta.
When dozens of globally famous journalists have objectively covered Bangladesh’s phenomenal economic success story and also rapid strides made by the country in human development, Bergman’s reporting has been stridently negative.
Last year, a Major Power signed him up for ‘offensive media operations’ to topple the Awami League government by sustained smear campaigns intended to provoke public unrest.
Afterwards, Netranews was born. From the beginning, his target was the country’s First Family.
Even the publication of an English journal Whiteboard did not escape his scathing attack.
And he got away with much more — perhaps because he is British and not seen as good enough to draw retribution meant for Bangladeshis.