Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Monday said Bangladesh needs no assistance from the United Nations (UN) to arrange elections since the country’s Election Commission (EC) is capable enough to hold fair and transparent polls.
“The Election Commission of Bangladesh is very strong, and I do not think it needs anyone’s help to hold elections,” he said.
He made the remarks at a programme of Bangladesh Secretariat Reporters Forum (BSRF) when journalists sought his reaction to UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo’s comment on the UN’s assistance for holding elections in Bangladesh.
Stating that the EC had already conducted many elections in Bangladesh in a very fair and transparent manner, Hasan said Bangladesh is not Somalia or Ethiopia that it needs the UN’s help to hold elections.
He, however, said it is completely a different issue if anyone wants to observe elections in Bangladesh.
“But the EC does not need any assistance to conduct elections.”
On Sunday, Mia Seppo said the UN would provide electoral assistance for Bangladesh if a request was made to do so.
Responding to questions at a programme at the Foreign Service Academy in the capital, she also said the UN does not provide electoral assistance unless it is asked to.
About the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) seeking the bank account details of journalist leaders, the information minister said the government can seek bank account details of anybody for any reason.
“The bank accounts of MPs, government employees, and the leaders of various business organisations are also sought. There is nothing wrong in asking for bank account details of anybody.”
He said it was not supposed to be published in newspapers that journalists’ bank account details had been sought.
“This is a question of why it was published in the media. Another question that is being raised by journalists is why the bank accounts were sought with the names of organisations. I think if someone is transparent, there is no reason to be worried about it.”
The BFIU of the Bangladesh Bank recently issued letters to the commercial banks asking for details of bank accounts of 11 journalist leaders.
Asked about the government’s move regarding the YouTube-based news channels after closing IPTVs by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, Hasan said his ministry only gives registrations to IPTVs, but they get domain allocations from the BTRC.
“The question is how they got domain allocations. I think one has to be very careful from now on before allocating a domain.”
He said there would be a tripartite meeting of the information, posts and telecommunications, and the ICT ministries on Wednesday to discuss the matter.
Later, the minister unveiled the cover of BSRF’s BSRF Barta magazine at the meeting room of his ministry at the Secretariat.
BSRF President Tapan Biswas and General Secretary Masudul Haque were, among others, present at the programme.