Journos to face no obstacle while travelling abroad: FM

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali today said journalists will face no obstacle during their travel abroad and performing professional duties there.

He, however, said it is necessary to monitor whether anybody is doing anything while travelling abroad that goes against the country's image and interest.

Monitoring is not only for journalists but also for all citizens and that is in the interest of the country, the minister said at a press briefing at the foreign ministry.

He came up with the remark when a senior journalist wanted to know about an official communication urging the Bangladesh missions abroad to monitor Bangladeshi journalists travelling abroad to check their activities that might go against Bangladesh’s interest and image.

“I didn't see it (instruction note). I’ll look into it. No journalist will face any barrier. If anybody does let me know,” the foreign minister said.

Earlier, former President of Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) and current EC Member Masud Karim urged the foreign minister to withdraw the “discriminatory” instruction conveyed to Bangladesh missions abroad tagging only the journalist community.

Minister Ali said monitoring Bangladesh citizens’ activities abroad does not mean that all are being controlled or someone is being brought under control mechanism.

The minister also said that all should support government’s effort to check whether anything is being done abroad against the country’s interest.

The foreign ministry on Wednesday conveyed the decision to heads of Bangladesh missions abroad, a diplomatic source told UNB.

“If anybody’s involvement is found against the interest and the image of the country, s/he must be identified and their such negative activities must be reported back to Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately,” the diplomat said quoting the message sent to the Bangladesh missions.

The foreign ministry requested the heads of Bangladesh missions abroad to take up the matter “seriously” so that Bangladeshi journalists, whenever travelling to the respective host countries, should be monitored to unearth their activities.

Earlier, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Foreign Affairs observed that any Bangladeshi journalist travelling abroad should be monitored and reports in this regard be sent back to the foreign ministry if their activities are found against the country’s interests.

The standing committee expressed its concern over the negative activities of Bangladeshi journalists abroad since such activities give wrong information on Bangladesh in the international arena, reads the document signed by Director General, External Publicity Wing Md Lutfor Rahman.

source: UNB