BD needs no UN help for elections: Info Minister

21 September 2021

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 don't think it needs anyone's help to hold elections," he said.
The minister came up with the remarks at a programme of Bangladesh Secretariat Reporters Forum (BSRF) as 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 has already conducted many elections in Bangladesh in a very fair and transparent manner, Dr Hasan said Bangladesh is not Somalia or Ethiopia that it needs the UN's help to hold elections here.
He, however, said it is completely a different issue if anyone wants to observe elections in Bangladesh. "But the Election Commission doesn't need any assistance to conduct elections."
On Sunday, Mia Seppo said the UN will provide electoral assistance to Bangladesh only if there is any request on that particular front.
Responding to questions at "DCAB Talk" at the Foreign Service Academy, she also said, "The UN doesn't provide electoral assistance unless we're asked to."
About seeking the bank account details of journalist leaders by Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU), 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's nothing wrong to ask for bank account details of anybody."
He said it was not supposed to be published in newspapers that the journalists' bank account details were sought. "This is a question as to why it was published in the media. Another question that's being raised by the journalists is why the bank accounts were asked with the name of organisations. I think if someone is transparent, there's 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 channel after closing IPTVs by BTRC, Dr Hasan said his ministry only gives registration to the IPTVs, but they get domain allocation from BTRC. "The question is how they got the domain allocation. I think one has to be very careful from now on before allocating a domain."
He said there would be a tripartite meeting of Information, Posts and Telecommunications and the ICT ministries on Wednesday to discuss the matter.
Later, the minister unveiled the cover of BSRF's magazine, 'BSRF Barta', at the meeting room of the Information Ministry at the Secretariat.
BSRF president Tapan Biswas and general secretary Masudul Haque were, among others, present at the programme.

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