‘It seems purposive’
Jatiya Press Club and Dhaka Reporters Unity have condemned and protested the move of Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) that sought statements of bank accounts of elected members of different journalists' associations.
In an urgent meeting of the management committee of the press club, they said investigation can be launched on allegations against anyone under the existing act.
"But launching a probe only against the elected leaders of the organisations of a profession seems purposive," the committee said in a press release.
BFIU this week sent letters to banks seeking statements of 11 journalist leaders.
The list included 11 names from the six most important organisations representing journalists. They have been directly elected by thousands of journalists from all over the country, including Dhaka. This unprecedented act has tarnished image of journalist society and Jatiya Press Club, read the press release.
Saying that it has belittled social dignity and defamed journalist leaders publicly, they demanded immediate withdrawal of the decision.
In its press release, DRU executive committee termed the BFIU's move a threat against independent journalism.
"It would be logical, if the bank statements of the leaders of all organisations of professionals would have been summoned," it said.
The executive committee of DRU suspected involvement of corrupt bureaucrats behind it.
"It needs to be investigated whether there is an ill motive or Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit took up the matter upon the instigation of some quarter," they opined.
Earlier, executive councils of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) and Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) expressed grave concerns over the issue.
"If there is any specific information about unusual transactions or money laundering against any particular journalist, legal action can be taken against him/her after proper investigation," read a joint statement.
"Question arises as to whether seeking bank account details of those elected to the top positions of the organisations is meant to humiliate such institutions and their leadership," the statement added.