While the decision of Dhaka University (DU) authorities to finally hold the DUCSU elections after a long hiatus of 28 years has been welcomed by all, the move by DU authorities to limit the number of print and electronic media on the day of election is completely baffling. We are dismayed to see that there is also a ban on live telecast during polling time and on the use of phones. Even their movement will be restricted to specific spots.
It is no wonder that this has drawn criticism from various quarters since such measures are draconian in nature. The decision comes in the backdrop of, reportedly, widespread violations of electoral practices taking place on the campus over the past so many days where complaints to university authorities have gone unheeded. It is imperative that the election be held in a transparent and free and fair manner. But limiting the movement of journalists and preventing live TV coverage will cast serious doubts on the transparency of the election.
Our question to the DU authorities is: what is there to hide? This isn't a national election but one which would give the general students the opportunity to vote candidates of their choice to hold positions in the general student body of the university. It is not only the media which is alarmed at these developments—academicians and ordinary students have voiced their misgivings at, what they view as, attempts to keep the entire proceeding in the dark. No one wants a replication of what happened in the previous national elections where the very manner in which the elections were held has been called into doubt.