BSMMU rejoinders, our replies
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) in three rejoinders dated April 5, 6 and 10 protested The Daily Star reports about the university published on January 20, 23, 25, 28, 29, and April 2, 4, 9.
Following is the list of our reports.
The report on January 20 dealt with an untoward incident between the BSMMU VC and a pro-VC, January 23 report was about a meeting to ease BSMMU “tension” emanating from the above incident, January 25 news was on Health Minister Mohammed Nasim's directive to the VC to apologise to the pro-VC, January 28 and 29 reports were on recruitment of BSMMU's 200 nurses amid irregularities, and BSMMU's decision to investigate the irregularities respectively.
The report of April 2 was on the absence of an emergency unit at BSMMU, the report of April 4 was on the BSMMU probe body's findings on nurse recruitment anomalies and the April 9 report was about the shortage of equipment at the cardiology department.
Signed by BSMMU Section Officer (public relations) Prasunto Kumar Majumder, the rejoinders claimed that our reports furnished wrong information.
Upon receiving them, The Daily Star re-investigated the points raised in the rejoinders and talked again to the relevant officials including the BSMMU VC about the allegations. This process took some time and hence the delay. Today we publish the rejoinders with our reply.
APRIL 5 REJOINDER
The first rejoinder referring to our April 4 report claimed that it was an attempt to tarnish the image of the university and its vice chancellor by publishing background information after the Syndicate found no anomalies in the nurse recruitment process.
It also criticised our April 2 report terming it “only a travesty of truth” and objected to the remarks made by the dean of the medical technology faculty. The rejoinder claimed it is beyond the dean's authority to give statements as he himself is a part of the university administration.
APRIL 6 REJOINDER
The rejoinder reiterated the complaint made in the first rejoinder and additionally objected to the inclusion of remarks of Pro-VC (academic) Prof ASM Zakaria. It claimed running a report with Zakaria's remarks “seems to be an activity against the interest of this university”.
APRIL 10 REJOINDER
It referred to our April 9 report “Cardiology dept choked by equipment shortage” and claimed that only the “registrar Prof Dr ABM Abdul Hannan or the vice chancellor holds the authority to give information to the media” and our reports were published with statements of different persons besides Vice Chancellor Prof Kamrul Hassan Khan's statements."
None of the three rejoinders of the BSMMU authorities contested the core findings of our reports.
We were criticised for using background information of an incident and talking to multiple sources, other than the VC, in all of our reports.
We used background information to let people know why the medical university authorities had to form a probe body. This is a normal journalistic practice exercised all over the world.
Talking to as many sources as possible again is a normal journalistic practice, and we did it for the sake of authentic journalism.
We will surely talk to the BSMMU VC and registrar for any formal and institutional comments, but in our journalistic process of gathering information, we will surely talk to other relevant officials for the sake of objective journalism.
The BSMMU is a national institution run by the taxpayers' money and making news reports about its proper functioning is our duty. To make our reports factual, we are obliged to talk to multiple sources.
Finally, we would like to say that the incident between the VC and the pro-VC were reported in many other newspapers whose reports were similar to ours. We would also like to say that the BSMMU's rejoinders appear to be based on a lack of understanding of the purpose of journalism and how it works.