Commentary

As voice of the people, demand of the press is for people’s govt

01 October 2022
As voice of the people, demand of the press is for people’s govt


–Mainul Hosein
It is unnecessary to assure the press if the press is free. The other day the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina "elected" under her own system said the press is free to criticise her.
We, in this paper, avoid scrupulously criticising her personally. We no doubt criticise the wrong policies of the government believing those policies are presented by bureaucrats under the blueprint supplied by others.
The press or the people have no importance to the government.
It is not incumbent on the government to respect the law or even the Constitution for the simple reason of a constitutional change made unilaterally forging free election impossible and such a system is not found anywhere under parliamentary system of democracy. Not even in neighbouring India.
Money is distributed at every level so that the opposition parties, despite their pubic vow not to take part under the existing system of fraudulent election in which the victory of the government is guaranteed, in the end, they submit to the greed. Other than cash, few parliamentary seats are given as gifts even to those parties that never hope to be elected.
Bangabandhu had shown respect for the Awami League's democratic heritage by forming the new BAKSAL party of no democracy. The political philosophy borrowed and bequeathed is a revolutionary authoritarianism as is the politics of the present government in substance.
Only this part of the Constitution denying free election to the people is all that matters to the government. Otherwise the democratic Constitution bestowed by the people and restored after the end of BAKSAL experiment has no value because the sitting government cannot be changed peacefully through election.
Deadly violence became the integral part of politics both for the government to suppress the opposition and the oppostion parties demanding for free election.
Some criticism is tolerated but the government does not feel the obligation to give any importance. The government knows that press criticism or any, criticism will not change the government. But the terror of government's actions like secret killings and forced disappearances remain hanging over the head as a sword of Damocles.
For winning elections with the help of police and other government officials has emboldened the whole administration to indulge in corruption and arbitrary actions. Most importantly, as the government has no accountability and judiciary is crippled by fear, the officials have no difficulty to be obstinate with regard to the people.
Some police and RAB high officials have been put under sanction by US Congress for its findings about extra judicial killings and forced disappearances.
It is known to the police and security officials also how an unelected government exists by terrorising the people about their security of life. The UN Human Rights body requested for an impartial enquiry to verify its findings. If the government has the honest courage let it agree to hold such an enquiry asking a representative of UN to join.
Such an enquiry about secret killings and disappearances must be held. Common knowledge is few thousand people became cruel victims of such terror politics. If this is not done, it is no use talking about free election. This system was good for anti-people politics and also for money making business of the executioners of such gross human rights violations.
The press is not interested in criticising anybody personally. But as the press is the voice of the people, the press insists on the need of a people's government for accountability of the government and safety of the people. Mere free election is not the answer, the system has to be reformed. Though this government cannot afford free elections without negotiations about their own safety.

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