Media should report on candidate profile
The media should provide information about contestants running in local government elections so the people can choose the best candidates, Shushashoner Janney Nagorik (Shujan) President Prof Muzaffer Ahmad said yesterday.
Prof Muzaffer made the remarks at a views exchange meeting with journalists, organised by Shujan in cooperation with The Hunger Project-Bangladesh at the National Press Club.
Dr Badiul Alam Majumder, the Shujan secretary, during the meeting alleged that the Election Commission (EC) has not been in compliance with the law of providing information about the candidates.
"The local government elections that are going to be held shortly are very important. But, it is observed that candidates with criminal records, nominated by political parties, are going to contest the polls," Prof Muzaffer said.
Massive corruption was detected in the previously elected local government institutions, he said adding that this negative image of the local government bodies has to be eradicated by electing honest and competent candidates and journalists can play a positive role in this regard.
Despite a nationwide campaign of endorsing honest and competent people in politics, the effort might be jeopardised if the same old faces win the local elections, he went on to say that the local government elections are very significant in establishing a strong base for democracy.
"We don't want democracy only for a day. So, we need leaders who truly represent the people and are committed to the welfare of the people," said Prof Muzaffer, also a noted economist.
Voters will be more informed to pick the best candidates once the journalists through their investigative reports reveal information about the candidates, he said.
Asked whether he supports the upazila elections within the tenure of the present caretaker government, Muzaffer said there should not be any objection against it because the political governments in the past broke their promises and did not hold the upazila elections for their own interests.
Asked if the ongoing dialogue between the government and political parties is successful, he said, "For better results, the dialogues should've been held among the political parties."
Shujan Secretary Dr Badiul Alam Majumder said the posting of the candidates' information on the EC website, as suggested by the EC, would not ensure all the voters' access to the candidates' information in time. "The purpose of the court order of providing candidates' information to people will thereby fail," he observed.
Asked for his comments about the political parties' apprehension that the local government elections will be "stage-managed", he said such elections would neither be acceptable nor possible.
Supreme Court advocate Dr Shahdeen Malik said due to lack of adequate publicity, not too many people are aware of the eligibility criteria for running in the polls and the media can play a crucial role by making the people aware of the criteria for candidacy.
As per the rules, business owners doing business with the government cannot take part in national elections due to conflict of interests, he noted.
Brotee Chief Executive Officer Sharmin Murshid and Shujan Chittagong District President Professor Sekandar Khan also spoke at the meeting.