Journos to face no obstacle while travelling abroad : FM

DHAKA : Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on Thursday said journalists will face no obstacle during their travel abroad and performing professional duties there, reports UNB.
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. Minister Ali, at a press conference at the Foreign Ministry, said monitoring is not only for journalists but also for all citizens and that is in the interest of the county.
He came up with the remarks 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 the country’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,” said the Foreign Minister.
Earlier, journalist 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. He said the freedom media enjoys in Bangladesh is not seen that much in many countries and journalists in Bangladesh are writing whatever they want.
The Foreign Minister said 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 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 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 Ministry of Foreign Affairs 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.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque, were among others, present at the press conference.


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