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Bangladesh authorities miserably fail in countering propaganda

Photo courtesy: OpenDemocracy

As Bangladesh is heading towards the next general election, which may take place within less than a year, propaganda targeting Bangladesh, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and ruling Awami League has been intensifying while Bangladesh authorities are miserably failing in countering it.

On March 20, 2023, for example, an article appeared in an website, where it said: “The current wave of anti-AL protests is the biggest since 2009 and indicates Sheikh Hasina’s declining popularity after 15 years in office. The AL administration is overconfident under the guise of purported economic growth and prosperity, but her opponents charge that she is using the worst kinds of fascist tactics to quell opposition. According to Human Rights Watch, Bangladesh has allegedly used covert detention facilities. The organization has urged the government to look into these claims and free everyone who is currently being detained there”.

It further said: “… if Sheikh Hasina wins a fourth term in office, the youth of Bangladesh, who comprise most of the country’s population, fear for their future. Increasing socioeconomic disparity, corruption, nepotism, and authoritarian rule amplify youth insecurity. The time for Bangladesh to act has come, and if political division and violence increase in the next days, Bangladesh’s economic success may be in jeopardy”.

In the same article, the author who claims to be a “research scholar and academic; Ph.D. in political science at the University of Pisa, Italy”, has also made extremely offensive remarks about Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stating the Bangladeshi Prime Minister “has a history of following orders from New Delhi” and “Bangladeshis are quite angry about how the BJP administration has treated religious minorities, especially Muslims”.

Meaning, this article has been written by someone who belongs to Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) and anti-India bloc.

It may be mentioned here that, commenting of the recent India visit of the Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, The Hindustan Times in a report said, Mr. Fumion Kishida outlined practical steps for expanding cooperation in food security, climate change, global health and cybersecurity. In the context of connectivity, Kishida said Japan will promote the “Bay of Bengal-Northeast India industrial value chain concept” with India and Bangladesh for the growth of the entire region.

Noriyuki Shikata, cabinet secretary for public affairs in Japan’s PMO, said Tokyo will look at projects to improve connectivity between the Indian and Bangladeshi economies and work on getting more Japanese companies to invest in the region. Cooperation on Myanmar is “difficult to promote” in the current situation, whereas Japan is looking at an economic partnership agreement with Bangladesh, he said.

Indeed, in recent times, Bangladesh has already emerged into an important geopolitical factor when it comes to regional issues. International community is realizing that without Dhaka’s active involvement, any broader economic initiative or regional security issues cannot be accomplished. Washington also is fully aware of this fact, while it has been making frantic bids of strengthening relations with Bangladesh particularly to counter China’s growing presence in the region. But in doing so, the US is playing the wrong tricks of intimidation by wrongly putting a series of unfounded blames on Bangladesh, which was once again reflected in the so-called ‘2022 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices’.

In an official response to this unjust report, Bangladesh’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said that the US report is far from the reality of Bangladesh. The state minister also claimed that information was taken from weak sources. He said that in Bangladesh, there are issues that are far from reality, which the government was excluding from outside.

He said, “We will analyze and see if there is anything to be taken into consideration in them”. But in the context of the level of our communication with the United States, the objections that we have, there will be a high-level visit in the coming days or we will highlight the weaknesses of this report so that they are not included in next year’s report.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already found some errors in the report. Minister of State Shahriar Alam said, the number of missing people is mentioned here as 81. You know this number will be 76. In this regard 76 is very vaguely stated that Bangladesh has claimed to identify 10 persons. The matter was mentioned in the report as if it had not been addressed. But here I want to say unequivocally that after receiving the information about those 10 people, the United Nations did their own verification and already 10 people have been removed from the list of 76. So it is not that Bangladesh is making a claim on that issue.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin commented that the ‘2022 Report on the Human Rights Practices of Various Countries’ published by the US is an example of political lies and bias.

In a regular press conference in Beijing he said, in this report, the whole world did not see the human rights problems of different countries, but rather US dominance and abuse. In addition, the double standards of the United States are also visible.

The spokesperson said, “We help different countries to know the real situation of the United States”.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs also released a report on the state of democracy in the United States in 2022. It examines the true state of American democracy in the past year with a wealth of factual information and media and expert opinion.

The report reveals the chaotic state of US domestic democracy and the turmoil and disaster caused by the imposition of its democratic system around the world. In this, everyone will know more clearly the real state of American democracy. And a few days later, the US will host the ‘Second Democracy Summit’. But it cannot hide the ‘weaponization goal’ of US democracy. The Chinese spokesperson also said that what is most needed in today’s world is to strengthen unity and cooperation on the basis of the UN Charter and adhere to true multilateralism without creating isolation in the name of democracy. The democratization of international relations should be jointly strengthened without interfering in the internal affairs of other countries under the pretext of democracy.

The latest US human rights report is outrageous, one-sided and outlandish. A reading of this human rights report shows that some individuals or groups with extreme anger against the ruling Awami League government produced it. Still, Bangladesh authorities are miserably failing in getting their response to this outrageous report published in the international media – including the media in the United States.

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An internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning anti-militancy journalist, writer, research-scholar, counterterrorism specialist and editor of Blitz.. He regularly writes for local and international newspapers on diversified topics, including politics and counterterrorism. Follow him on Twitter @Salah_Shoaib


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