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Editors’ Council wants to hear from Naem Nizam about his resignation

  • Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2021-07-30 03:20:00 BdST

bdnews24

The Editors’ Council wants to hear straight from Naem Nizam why he resigned from the organisation of editors of a fraction of the newspapers in Bangladesh.

Reazuddin Ahmed, a senior member of the council, was tasked with communicating with Nizam at a virtual meeting of the council on Thursday, the Editors' Council said in a statement.

The council said it “suddenly faced a crisis arising out of Naem Nizam's unilateral public announcement of resignation from the post of its general secretary on Jul 27, and that too from abroad, on grounds of differences of opinion with the president”.

The council would hear the grievances directly from Nizam, who is expected to return to Dhaka on July 31. “Therefore (it) requests him to attend the next meeting of the council to be held as soon as possible,” the statement added.

Nizam, editor of the Bangladesh Pratidin and CEO of News24 TV, is scheduled to return home on Jul 31.

The meeting delegated Reazuddin to “personally communicate the content of the resolution to Nizam and pursue the latter to attend the next meeting”.

Reazuddin has been requested to report back to the president about the development of his efforts within seven days.

Mahfuz Anam became president of the council and Naem general secretary in a reformation of its committee in September 2019.

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. It is also the owner of News24 channel.

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

Banglanews24 also published a statement of Nizam, 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.”

Nizam could not be reached for comments. His wife Farida Yasmin is president of the National Press Club. 

On Wednesday, Anam issued a written response, denying any rift in the council. "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."

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