Protest against a Fraudulent news about GCM’s support In Phulbari
Some of you might have seen a ‘News Report’ in Prothom Alo (Bengali Daily) and a few English newspapers on increase of support for GCM’s project in Phulbari area. The local leaders have sent a press release (Translated by me) that protests against the one-sided story. This is part of the propaganda machine unleashed to get some gain amidst the heightened political crisis in Bangladesh.
One of the local UP Chairman who is mentioned in the news to be supporting GCM’s claims has contacted the National Committee and expressed his surprise as he was never contacted about the content of the ‘news’. Attached is the translation. This is also a very crucial time on the eve of their AGM. They will try to rip some gains from this news in the AGM too.
The following has been translated by Sumina Luthfa:
Protest against Prothom Alo’s Fraudulant news on Phulbari
It has come to our notice that a fraudulent news titled “Phulbari Coal Mine Development: GCM demands positive results from their new strategy” has been published in the Daily Prothom Alo on 24th November. It is to be noted that the name of the reporter is kept secret and they have used ‘Special Correspondent’ in the writer’s line. The way this news report ignores all other views without even checking the facts and presents the view of one side (which in most part is false), it seems that whoever wrote s/he must be one of the paid special correspondents of GCM.
Asia Energy, that is GCM, published a press release on the 31 October. In the release they claimed, “There has been a notable increase in the engagement of the company with the people of the mine footprint. Public support for the mining project is gradually increasing.” It is to be noted here that GCM has been thrown out of the Phulbari region in the 2006. Since then they have been making these sort of false claims to keep their share price in the London Stock Exchange afloat. It is surprising that just because GCM claimed it, a leading daily like the Prothom Alo has treated it to have news value. How can it be news, when a month has already passed since the press release? What is also very surprising is, in this ‘news’, the information and facts has not been checked, even people’s representatives or protestors against the Phulbari coal project has not been consulted. They just treated one –side’s claim as news. We see no way of justifying this as journalism!
This ‘news’, claimed that Dinajpur South East Development Front had already collected 50 thousand signature from local people which is allegedly supported by the Chairmen of Birampur, Parbatipur and Nawabganj in their press statement. However, the ‘special correspondent’ did not bother to contact the chairman of Phulbari sub-district where two-third of the mine lies. Moreover, it is because of the resistance from the people of Phulbari that the mine is still being halted. The truth is: due to the presence of the popular opposition in Phulabri the AEC cannot even show their presence there, let alone go and gather signatures. The Dinajpur South-Eastern Development Front have done some signature collection which however, is not about Phulbari mine instead about the upgrading of Birampur into a district. Therefore, the signatures do not have anything to do with the Phulbari mine.
Moreover, a daily as esteemed as Prothom Alo should not be publishing stories without proper research and acknowledgement from all sides. We hereby, protest against such journalism where fraudulent facts become concocted into ‘news’. We expect that Prothom Alo will publish rejoinder after researching on the topic more and incorporating views from the local people.