The Economist’s as usual biased coverage on Bangladesh-India comes under fire

Abdullah Harun Jewel

Abdullah Harun Jewel

London based weakly magazine The Economist, with a global readership continues to deliver inaccurate and unbalanced reporting on Bangladesh and India and to its time-tested relations. While some reports have exposed a pattern of bias in Economist coverage, the author repeatedly failed to address these documented concerns. Probably it may give an impression to some of us but the fact is The Economist frequently misrepresents the truth and omits relevant details. Recent reports on Bangladesh captured the animosity and carelessness with fact commonplace in the publication. We believe the reports clearly exposed its hatred and bigotry against Bangladeshi and Indian people as a whole. Without doubt, many people, especially the Bangladeshi people, feel hurt by this barefaced assault.

The Economist breaks up its print edition each week into geographical regions (The United States, the Americas, Europe, The Middle East and Africa, Asia, and Britain) that own measure its half-million weekly readers.  Economist should stick to the fabrication as its business or leave journalism to those who know and care something about the honest reporting of fact.

Some example of The Economist’s biased reports:

The readers, in fact, are realizing the charisma of the Economist’s former editor, Bill Emmott. Now new phrase would be popular like “DON’T BE TOO ECONOMIST”.

India

The Economist wrote : According to a survey in early September by the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, the UPA would increase its seats from the 222 it won in May 2004 to 267. Meanwhile, the BJP-led coalition, the National Democratic Alliance, would win 133 seats, compared to 189 in 2004. The Left party’s number of seats in the national parliament would fall to, down from 59.

http://www.economist.com/node/9820974?story_id=9820974

Indian response: What comes across as ridiculous is the analysis on the possible outcome of the mid-term polls. Among other things, the Economist relies on questionable opinion poll data that have a notorious record for being wrong 99% of the time.

France

China

  • The All-China Journalists Association (ACJA) “We are truly stunned and shocked by a recent racist and hateful remark on the Chinese people by your news commentator.
  • Journalist group urges to apologize

We can go on with more controversial news report links on Italy, Russia, and Middle East and even on religion.

Biased reports on Bangladesh

A scan of months of Economist reporting discloses persisting unfairness. In particular, Economist coverage continues to characterize imprecisely Bangladesh Government’s actions.

Lets analyze its’ reports.

1) They have no representative in Bangladesh so its natural that they would be careful about contents while reporting.

2) They have representatives in India. But their reports on India were skewed and it may raise question whether they are practicing yellow journalism or not!

3) Bangladesh related reports were published without any author’s name, some in the name of A.R. and Banyan. It’s certain that they knowingly published the fabricated reports and to safeguard from any legal measures it was published in this way.

Yet they cannot deny the liabilities.

Key points of the reports:

Terming Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as being autocratic and democracy

It’s a blatant lie. She always welcomed opposition parties specially BNP for discussion and to join in the parliament session.

Gains of BNP in local polls, criticism of government’s different steps uttered/articulated in print and electronic media, independent judicial system, Human Rights Commission all these clearly indicates that Awami League want to ensure democracy and democratic norms. It should be noted that AL didn’t fire a single govt. employee for political connection with opposition, the scenario was always opposite when BNP assumed power.

Question on Parliamentary Election-2008

9th Parliamentary election of Bangladesh has been treated as free, fair and neutral election by the people of Bangladesh from all walks of life. All local and foreign Election Monitoring/Observing organizations greeted the fair election.

Best example is the Economist itself.

Though it predicted that AL won’t win but after election it wrote:

“It went better than anybody dared hoped. On December 29th Bangladesh held its first general election for seven years. It was well attended, with 70% turn-out, well organized, largely peaceful and despite some vote buying and other malpractices, far cleaner than its predecessors.”

30-December-2008, The Economist.

War Crime Criminal

Our more than 3-million innocent people, minorities and freedom fighters were killed/murdered/raped in the Liberation War of Bangladesh (1971). It’s the long cherished desire of our majority people to punish those war criminals. A nation can not bear the liability of demanded justice. Punishment of the war criminal is nothing new in the world. Above all, it was mentioned in AL’s election manifesto to ensure justice for Crime against humanity. An International War Crime Tribunal has been formed. All arrested criminals in this regards are unanimously known as war criminals.

About Bangabandhu : The severity of the biased report:

They dared to question on principles of Bangabandhu, his portrait even on Liberation war.

Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is not just a name. He is founder of Bangladesh. Bangabandhu means Bangladesh. He had sacrificed his whole life for our people, for our freedom. Despite the consequences that BBC termed Bangabandhu as “The greatest Bengali of the millennium” (also quoted in 30-12-08 report in Economist), the father of the nation Bangabandhu is and will be immortal in the heart of our people.

Dr. Yunus issue:

Its Sheikh Hasina who recommended first to approved govt. loan for Dr. Yunus’ Grameen Bank in 1996. Yunus initiated to do something for the poor. But in fact we came to know his promotional video on micro-credit is an well-acted drama. Poor’s are only the source of money. Their effective interest rate is about 40%. Some were cheated, he used the fund for poor in commercial sector though it was entitled to distribute for micro-credit only. A Nobel laureate is not above law. He violated our banking rules; his post was not approved by Central Bank (for 10 years).

Why The Economist published any report on journalist Tom Hennyman who unleashed a video documentary of many secrets? Why they didn’t gave him coverage when Norwegian state television questioned about Yunus’ transparency and misuse of donated fund? It’s a game with the poor. But we have no media for the poor. We can’t hear their cry.

Yunus matter could have been settled but he took it to the court. Sheikh Hasina never try to influence judicial system.

Bangladesh-India issue:

It’s very interesting that they have expressed soft corner for China in Bangladesh related reports whereas China is also misrepresented by Economist. The Economist employs a striking double standard regarding their reports. Bangladesh-India relationship is time-tested. We are grateful to them for their support in our Liberation war. But it doesn’t mean Bangladesh or India would have the benefit of anything against national interest. Chitmohol (enclave) is a unsettled issue and those inhabitants are living inhuman life. Other Govt. didn’t solve it only for political interest. Now its in a position of settlement and area of Bangladesh will be increased.

Asian Highway

Nepal and Bhutan and other SAARC countries are willing to establish a road-transit with Bangladesh. It will help in our economic development also. It’s not possible without Asian-Highway to connect with India and subsequently Nepal, Bhutan.

Border Killing:

Border killing happens due to smuggling. The smugglers use the poor to carry products and the poor do it only for some money to live hand-to-mouth. Most importantly all locally elected leaders of border area are of BNP and they have a tie to the smugglers.

All these issues/matters are known to the journalists or relevant people. They don’t voice for it whether for political interest or any other influence.

We don’t believe that lies will become mottos if they are repeated a thousand times. We found characteristics of the reports as ignorance about Bangladesh, lack of awareness about facts, flawed information, blunder, incorrect, dangerously misleading and impractical. If Economists continue presumptuous contents in the magazine that flouts basic standards of accuracy, balance and fair play, for the purported news reports The Economists must be highlighted as the most biased International media.

As they failed to endorse proper information on political issues and because of the inherent liberal culture of as a reputed international media we urge The Economist authority to apologize for its reports on Bangladesh.


16 Responses to “The Economist’s as usual biased coverage on Bangladesh-India comes under fire”

  1. Khondkar A saleque

    A section of beneficiaries of the past corrupt regime of BNP-Jamat allaince with ill motives of creating confusions and controveries are out for propaganda campaign. The ill gotten money is talking. Who is Banyan? Why the reporter does not have the courage to write in his/ her own name ? Why the meida is questioning the election 2008 which all neutral observers and media of the world at that time considred free, fair and neutral? We must condemn ” The Economist ” for questioning our glorius liberation war ? For questioning the Genocide 1971. One group of beneficaries of Khaleda -Nizami Regime and Hawa Bhaban syndicate are out on a media campaign war to destabilise the country as War Criminal trials are proceeding to a critical satge. Champion of Corruption and conspiracy ” Tareq Zia ” is getting exposed. BNP for its rootless stance and attitude may soon disintegrate . Top leaders have no character .Relying on fundamentalist and Anti Indian propaganda the Group of “Winter Birds” will soon fly away leaving the ” Queen Bee” stranded.
    Patriotic self respecting Bangladesh must stand together aginst motivated propaganda war of the vested qaurter and create strong public opinion aginst it.
    I challenge the reporter to a one to one debate anywhere of the world . For that to happen we demand that he/ she come out of covert acts of yellow Journalism.
    The write up clearly evidence how irreseponsible ” English media can be in carrying baseless reports to create confusion.The time tested relation of Indo-Bangladesh will not be affected from these acts of yellow journalism.

  2. Ahsan Habib

    They may be declared war against Bangladesh. Why India is quiet?

  3. Sheikh Zia

    I think Mr.Jewel got bit carried away and made the comment ” Bangabandhu means Bangladesh” . I can’t figure out how a Person, no matter how big he is can be above the Motherland !! While Bangabandhu was a inspiration, Ekushe martyrs set the road to independence, more than 3 millions made supreme sacrifices to achieve this…we do have more than ONE hero. Bangabandhu is GIANT of a leader but NOT bigger than our motherland Bangladesh.

  4. Javed

    Bangabandhu was the architect of independent Bangladesh. He is the undisputed and unchallenged Father of the Nation at whose clarion call the entire nation embraced the War of Independence to free Bangladesh from the Pakistani butchers and their Bengali collaborator hyenas in 1971.

    Without this charismatic visionary firebrand Founding Father of Bangladesh we would have never got our Golden Sonar Bangla. Soon after independence international and local conspirators and collaborators got together with help from traitors like Ziaur Rahman and killers within the army to carry out the most gruesome mass murder in history on the 15h of August, 1975. Since then Zia along with collaborators like Shah Aziz, Abdul Alim and many more embarked on a mission to destroy the Awami League. It failed again and again.Khaleda Zia has continued the tradition by deepening her friendship with Jamaat killers of 1971 and forging ties with ISI elements within the Pakistani army who were behind the assassination and have siphoned millions of US money into BNP’s creation. The last time Khaleda Zia’s son and their allies the Jamaat-e-Islami collaborators of 1971 tried again to re-enact the 1975 murders in 2004 August 21 grenade blasts. Zia’s family is so mean-spirited, morally corrupt and debase and decadent that Khaleda Zia and her family decided to celebrate her fake birthday on the very day the Father of the Nation was killed on hypocrite Moudud Ahmed’s advice. For these reasons only there can never be any reconciliation between shameless liar Khaleda Zia and PM Sheikh Hasina.

  5. Mirza Abedin

    Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will live in our hearts forever. The Father was alive for less than five years after he had liberated our homeland. He is a mighty figure that inspires us even today. This lion of Bengal’s life was nipped in the bud by munafiks like Zia, Mushtaq and their hired assassins.

    How low can a human being lower herself by choosing the Founder’s mourning day as her birthday. Does she really have a birthday? She does not know her birthday at all. Otherwise she would not have faked it so many times during her lifetime.

    May Allah grant eternal peace to this great man and his slain family members and also all those killed in August 1975. Bangabandhu may not exist today as a living being but he is very much alive amongst us through his deeds, acts, igniting speeches and works. Bangabandhu premature death at a time when we needed him the most immortalized him forever. JOY BANGLA!

  6. Khondkar A saleque

    Bangladesh is the sun in the solar system.Who can deny that Sun is the source of all Energy. Khaleda must have remained ever grateful to the big bird for the role Bangabndhu played to keep Khaleda’s conjugal life intact.Instead she celebrates her fake birthday of the Martyr day of Bangabandhu. Soon the memory of many others like traitor Zia and Khaleda Zia will be forgotten .Butthe memory of Bangabandhu will continue to guide the nation as a beacon . No one I say no one including his own daughter Sheikh Hasina can ever reach near the monumental achievement of Bangabandhu.
    On this fateful day we like to express our deep gratitude for the greatest Bangalee of all time . May Allah rest his soul in peace.

  7. Akhond

    You started so well & You wrote so many things,I agreed with you with most of them
    But Mr Jewel what actually you tried to mean by saying “Bangabandhu means Bangladesh”.

    If you have a lot of respect for him thats fine, I was also a direct witness of history of Bangladeshi liberation war & was a uni student during Bangobondhu’s ruling time. I do respect him as a great revolutionary leader, but at the same time I saw him as a failed statesman. By saying so I also never supported his killing along with his family members.
    His misrule was enough to create a mass movement & it was taking momentum to oust him, but a third power just hijacked that opportunuty to fulfill their
    own agenda.
    Mr Jewel, can’t we comeout of this over enthusiasm of worshipping a person like the stature of a great revolutioner leader like Bongobondhu just blindly? It is because of those blind worshippers he made political mistakes after mistakes & he was’t able to understand how bad the situation was turning against him.
    See the BNP’s situation now, khaleda Zia just how she was spoiled by those over enthusiast worshippers & ofcourse she herself has to take majority of the blames as she likes those chamchas, Just imagine what qualification or political experience have those two sons of her got to be involved in state
    politics.
    If she was not spoiled & greedy she should have asked her sons to be educated first.

    We must be brave & honest enough to speak the truth & must remember that motherland comes first, people comes first. The leaders must learn to accept
    people’s crticism to do a better job.
    I am not sure what you tried to mean actually with that “Bongobondhu means Bangladesh”
    If we really love our leaders, we must tell them what is wrong & what is right, saying yes, yes & yes al the time is not the work of a real well wisher.

  8. akhond

    Yes Mr Ahsan Habib,we can ask “Why India is quiet?”
    You have very genuine reasons to ask that, I agree.
    If we honestly think,then we can ask so many questions.

    We can ask why Khaleda Zia celebrates her birthday on this 15th August, at least shouldn’t she show her humanside even to her children(forget about general people)that celebrating a fake birthday out of political vengeance?

    she made herself as the mother of all hatred in national politics. How she can go to such low? What one can expect from this type of political leadership?
    We can ask why Jamat is now war criminal?
    What happened to Awami league leaders that time (1986) when Jamaat was an ally of BAL & during the Ershad regime of 9 years, until at the end when both BAL and Jamat joined the movement to bring down Ershad?

    Gentlemen please be more neutral, more
    impartial when you say something, do something,judge something, only then we can make a happy country.
    Let everyone learn to share the blames for today’s debacle of the country, our society.

  9. Ashraf

    I would request all media not to cover Khaleda Zia’s false birthday on the very day the Father of the Nation was gunned down by the assassins on the 15th of August. Khaleda Zia has resorted to lies and damned lies.

    Khaleda Zia’s husband will be trashed in the garbage of history and her two criminal and terrorist sons will be put on trial in Bangladesh in locked cages just like the two corrupt and murderer sons of Hosni Mubarak.

  10. abir

    Dont forget 15th of August is Sri Aurobindo’s birthday.Its He and The Mother who gave the force for the birth of Bangladesh.Go to Pondicherry,Sri Aurobindo Ashram and find out more.Mukti Bahini commanders were in contact with THE MOTHER,and 21st of February,which happens to be THE MOTHERS birthday also happens to be Bengali Language movement day.Coincidence?

  11. abir

    Sri Aurobindo and Bangladesh

    Behind the jostle of temporary points of view and instant interests there are the Eternal Landmarks. To lose sight of them is to lose one’s very way and steer onto the reefs of expediency and comfortable compromise upon which we shall founder a moment later. Behind the little frontal events is the greater tide of history and to lose sight of it is to lose one’s direction and the golden thread that leads to our perfect fulfillment, be it individual or national. Those who have left their unique mark upon the labyrinth of history are the very ones who have seized the golden thread and affirmed the Greater History and the Greater Meaning against all the instant arguments and fleeting expediencies.
    The Greater History tells us that the whole earth is a single body with a single destiny, but that within that single destiny each part of the greater body, each nation, has its special role to play and its rare moments of choice when it must make the decisive gesture, its true gesture in the total movement of the great Eternal History. Each nation is a symbol. Each gesture of each nation potentially represents a little victory in the total victory or a little defeat in the total defeat. And sometimes the whole of our history is at stake at a symbolic point of the earth; and, a little gesture, a tiny turn to the right or left, has repercussions, either good or bad, down the ages and over the entire earth body.
    India is precisely such a symbol and Bangladesh is another, a little turning point in the great course of events of the earth. The time has come to consider the eternal Landmarks and read the greater tide in the small eddies. Now, the greater tide tells us that India’s role is to be the spiritual heart of the terrestrial body just as, for example, the role of France is to express clarity of intellect, or that of Germany to express skill, Russia the brotherhood of man and the United States enthusiasm for adventure and practical organization, etc. But only if India is ONE can she fulfill this role, for how can one who is herself divided lead others? Thus the division of India is the first Falsehood that must disappear, for it is the symbol of the earth’s division. As long as India is not one, the world cannot be one. India’s striving for unity is the symbolic drama of the world’s striving for unity.
    THE AGENDA,MAY15TH,1971

  12. abir

    ” They’ve begun fighting; I received a letter yesterday or the day before.
    Bah!… Everything is like this (hanging gesture), everything. They’re ready to fight up there [on the borders of India and Bangladesh], and they’re forever waiting to be told to fight. The armies are ready, everything is ready and they’re waiting. Everything is like this (same gesture).

    What are they waiting for?

    For the government to give the order.

    But the government won’t budge!

    Oh, yes (Mother smiles), it will. It will be forced to move. But it’s resisting.

    Someone came here from the government, sent by a “commission,” and through him the General in command of the armies has communicated with me, and he asked for my blessings. They are all ready. They’re waiting — they are told tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, always tomorrow. I have news from up there.
    (silence)

    A few days ago, in sleep, I saw Indira Gandhi. She seemed to be here and was trying to convince us of something; what particularly struck me is that everything she was saying was on a very ordinary level, and she looked very pale.

    She is easily influenced, you know. So there are … (gesture of tugging).

    Indeed, she has not accepted your influence alone.

    No, she’s taken it and mixed it with others. That’s why things go like this (gesture of jumbled confusion).

    The Agenda Septembar18th,1971
    (Mother goes within for a long time)

    They’ve crossed the border[[Only 12 days later, on December 2, will India launch a general offensive. ]] [of East Bengal].
    You think that means war?
    (Mother makes a gesture of not knowing)
    This is not the official news. It’s the “combatants”[[“Mukti Bahini” army of liberation or Bengali resistance. ]] who write me: the general who came here….”
    THE AGENDA NOVEMBAR 20TH,1971

  13. akhond

    Mr Abir, no one will say it is wrong to celebrate birthday on 15th Aug or any occassion on 15th Aug like India can’t stop celebrating its independence day on 15th Aug, you can’t draw any parallel to that of Khaleda Zia’s birthday celebration on 15th Aug, Khaleda Zia started her birthday celebration only after 1991 when she won the election after Ershad regime,
    so far the record shows it & she intentionally choose that out of political
    vengeance.
    If she had any grievence against Sk Mujib for his misrule then there are other civilized & mature political ways to express it, but she shoudl remember that on 15th Aug there were many other people icluding children who
    were murdered too.
    By cutting a 67kg cake she only showed her lowest taste of civility as a human being & BNP suppoters will one day understand that their leadership is the main root of their down fall, I remember so many die hard & dedictaed BNP
    founder politicians have left BNP out of sheer frustration just because this
    lady & her chamcas.

  14. akhond

    Mr Abir, no one will say it is wrong to celebrate birthday on 15th Aug or any occassion on 15th Aug like India can’t stop celebrating its independence day on 15th Aug, you can’t draw any parallel to that of Khaleda Zia’s birthday celebration on 15th Aug, Khaleda Zia started her birthday celebration only after 1991 when she won the election after Ershad regime,
    so far the record shows it & she intentionally choose that out of political
    vengeance.
    If she had any grievence against Sk Mujib for his misrule then there are other civilized & mature political ways to express it, but she shoudl remember that on 15th Aug there were many other people icluding children who
    were murdered too.
    By cutting a 67kg cake she only showed her lowest taste of civility as a human being & BNP suppoters will one day understand that their leadership is the main root of their down fall, I remember so many die hard & dedictaed BNP
    founder politicians have left BNP out of sheer frustration just because this
    lady & her chamcas.

  15. akhond

    Mr Abir, sorry I couldn’t understand your postings at all.
    What actually you are trying to mean by “Agenda 15th may 1971”,
    “Agenda Sept 18th 1971”, “Agenda NOV 2oth 1971”????????????

    Would you please let us know more clearly what are those agendas?

    AS I told that I was a university Student & I can recollect so many
    things including this Indian participation in our liberation war.

    But from your posting I am a bit confused & I get lost what actually your
    points are?

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