BPSA's Statement on Police Graft News & Home Ministry Request

Unconstitutional Threat to Media Freedom, A Sinister Bid to Protect Corruption: TIB

Press Release

Dhaka, 23 June 2024: Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) strongly condemns the Bangladesh Police Service Association's (BPSA) recent statement on journalism and media. TIB views the BPSA's statement as a threat to press freedom. It appears to be a deliberate attempt to hinder the media exposure of corruption, particularly on amassing of huge income and wealth by former senior police officials, which TIB considers as a sinister effort to protect and promote such alleged corruption.

Criticizing the BPSA statement as an instance of Ostrich Syndrome, TIB Executive Director (ED) Dr. Iftekharuzzaman said, “The statement by the police association dismissing the recent reports of corruption involving former officials as motivated is in fact itself motivated. It is not unreasonable to consider this statement by the police officers’ association to be intended to shield those alleged of corruption within the force. On one hand, this statement by the country's law enforcement officers' association is a direct threat to constitutionally mandated free media and an attempt to suppress the media voice, on the other hand, it is a clear violation of the citizens' right to access information. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the BPSA is attempting to ‘bury its head in the sand like an ostrich’ and in essence denying the reality.”

Dr. Zaman disagreed with the BPSA's statement that reporting corruption in the forces has a negative impact on the police's reputation. According to him, “The information and evidences of allegedly hefty, unusual and brazen corruption of former top police officials, which have been widely reported in the media, are being questioned with the lame argument of tarnishing the police image. It raises concerns over the credibility and capacity of a responsible organization like the Police to protect its reputation. A more constructive approach would have been a proactive announcement of internal investigation and support for independent and credible probe into these serious allegations. Such a move would demonstrate the police force's commitment against corruption.”

Highlighting BPSA statement regarding the contribution of the police force for the country, TIB ED said “We always recognize and appreciate the police's contributions in various struggles, disasters, and crises, starting from our war of independence. However, the apparent effort to use this contribution as a license to protect crime or as a tool to allow impunity to corruption raises concerns about the ethical standard of the police.”

According to news reports, following the statement from the Police Service Association, the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a letter to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to ensure that the media exercise caution when publishing news about the police force. TIB has termed this as an ominous signal, not only for media freedom in the country but also for the prospect of accountable governance in general. In this regard, Dr. Zaman pointed out that “The Ministry of Home Affairs, which as the oversight body of the police force is responsible to facilitate disclosure of information on corruption , is paradoxically observed to trying to shield corruption by preventing flow of information. It is highly regrettable for a government that proclaims itself as democratic, committed to public interest and has a policy of zero tolerance for corruption. TIB expects Bangladesh Police Service Association and Home Ministry will perform their constitutional duty of combating all forms of criminal activity, including corruption and abuse of power and will facilitate unbiased investigations into the allegations of corruption free from any conflicts of interest.

 

Media Contact:
Mohammad Tauhidul Islam
Director, Outreach and Communication
Phone: +8801713107868
Email: tauhidul@ti-bangladesh.org


Press Release