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Mahfuz Anam denies rift in Editors’ Council, responds to Naem Nizam’s resignation

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2021-07-28 23:04:40 BdST

Mahfuz Anam, editor of The Daily Star and president of the Editors’ Council, said he was “shocked” by Naem Nizam's resignation from the group.

Citing an anonymous source, the Bangladesh Pratidin, Kaler Kantho and online portal Banglanews24 published reports with an identical text on Tuesday, claiming Anam was engaged in personal attacks against the owners of some member newspapers of the council. East West Media Group Ltd, a unit of Bashundhara Group, owns the media outlets that published the reports.

The reports portrayed the resignation of Naem Nizam, editor of the Bangladesh Pratidin, as a protest against Anam’s “unethical” activities in the council.

On Wednesday, Anam issued a written response.

Naem Nizam. Photo courtesy of the Bangladesh Pratidin

Naem Nizam. Photo courtesy of the Bangladesh Pratidin

"I am shocked and saddened by the news of Naem Nizam's resignation from the position of General Secretary of Sampadak Parishad [Editors’ Council] about which he informed me yesterday night over the phone from New York, but I am yet to receive his resignation letter," Anam said.

“I will consult with members of the Parishad to formulate our response. However, it may be mentioned that the policy of the Parishad has always been to operate on the basis of consensus and there has not been a single occasion otherwise.”

"I would like to emphasise here that I had a wonderful working relationship with him and we never had any difference of opinion in running the organisation."

Banglanews24 also published a statement of Naem, according to which they “wanted to work in unison with a positive stand”. “But the harsh reality is that the Sampadak Parishad is not doing anything other than issuing statements against the government sometimes. An organisation of editors cannot go on harbouring only anti-government attitudes.”     

“The council cannot play a role in improving the quality of the profession. It is run only on the president’s personal whims. It cannot be the Sampadak Parishad’s job to safeguard the interests of the Prothom Alo and The Daily Star. Such activities do not bode well for the media. Publishing news against a media owner before the charges are proved is totally unacceptable.”

Naem Nizam could not be reached for comments. He is also CEO of East West Media Group’s News24 TV station. His wife Farida Yasmin is president of the National Press Club.    

Anam told bdnews24.com he had nothing else to say “now” than what he had already said in the statement.