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Debapriya Pays Homage To Late Journo Moazzam Hossain

Country facing information breakdown as BB bans entry of journalists

Published : Wednesday, 8 May, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 195

Distinguished Fellow of Center for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya said, the country had suffered from information anarchy in the past but it is now suffering from a total breakdown. The recent ban on entry of journalists to central bank is a proof of that.
He said this at a commemorative meeting on late Moazzem Hossain, former editor of the daily Financial Express organized by the Economic Reporters Forum (ERF) at its auditorium in the capital on Tuesday. Remembering to AHM Moazzem Hossain, he said, the late editor was a completely professional journalist; a pure journalist. He has always performed his duties with integrity, ethics and complete impartiality. He was the pioneer of economics journalism.
Going bank to information blockade he said, "Bangladesh Bank is the place for unfiltered information. it a big fountain of information. Before, professionals would depend on BBS for financial information but Bangladesh Bank has shut that door now. It will damage the central bank integrity and reputation.  
He said, "Some are getting information from central bank now, some are not. Businessmen are getting information while journalists are not. It will impact market monitoring. If information is given to trader, It will effect market; price will increases.
Bangladesh Bank is a state institution. But journalists are not allowed to enter there. Why release of information will be a major sabotage? He wondered if saboteurs are economic journalists
Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya said, the country is now moving towards graduation from LDC status. Government now speaks about smart Bangladesh and digital information. Information control is inconsistent with the concept of Smart Bangladesh, he said.
He said, exports are now performing better but the balance of payment of Bangladesh Bank shows "money is not coming." It is happening when information flow has been stopped.
Bangladesh Bank is squeezing information when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is analyzing the results of the governments financial reforms. Dr Debapriya wondered if "dal may kuch kala hai" (something is fishy). This self-concealment move is in conflict with the governments concept of Smart Bangladesh.
He said 90s was a unique decade after the independence for restoration of democracy and change of government in democratic succession, competitive politics. At that time critics also felt much more freedom than today.
At that time, critics and journalists had a deep and trusting relationship with policy makers. We called 1090s as the golden age for democracy, he said.
This eminent economist said, Bangladesh would proudly claim that it has never defaulted on debt payments. That claim now no longer exists. Pressure is being created to repay the debt. It was not possible now to pay 5 billion dollars in time in various cases including fuel bills, profits of foreign companies, debts of foreign airlines.
Shamsul Haque Zahid, editor of English daily Financial Express, was special guest at the event ERF president Refaytullah Mirdha and general secretary Abul Kashm were present in the meeting.







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