Anfrel has recently published a propaganda stuff titled ‘Bangladesh govt’s double standard in dealing with fake news’ against Bangladesh, which is written by Qadaruddin Shishir, fact check editor at French photo agency AFP and regular contributor to The Daily Star. While this propaganda content is filled with lies and misinformation, it is a matter of great surprise as to how Anfrel, which is supposed to be a neutral election observer, has dedicated space on its website in running it.
According to information, Asian Network for Free Election (Anfrel) or Anflrel Foundation is located at 105 Suthisarnwinichai Road, Huaykwang Samsennok, Bangkok 10310, Thailand.
Executive council members of Anfrel are: Mudassir Rizvi (Pakistan), Kaka Suminta (Indonesia), Rohana Hettiarachchie (Sri Lanka), Sakool Zuesongdham (Thailand), Elberel Davaa (Mongolia), Kapil Shrestha (Nepal) and Kim Chhorn (Cambodia).
At the intro of the above-titled propaganda stuff, Qadaruddin Shishir wrote “Some of the websites and pages post only materials that either promote the government or attack the opposition. On specific occasions, their focus turns on journalists, writers and human rights defenders”. But in this article, we shall expose how Shishir has provided a series of false information in it clearly with the notorious agenda of maligning the image of the Bangladesh government.
In the second and third paragraph of the propaganda stuff, Qadaruddin Shishir wrote:
… Also in January, Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen directed Bangladesh envoys abroad to respond ‘spontaneously’ against ‘all sorts of anti-Bangladesh propaganda’ in their respective host countries without waiting for Dhaka’s permission.The government also formed a coordination committee led by the foreign ministry to deal with “anti-state propaganda” at home and abroad to debunk “misinformation” with “correct information”.
We can ask Shishir, what is wrong in both the cases? Shall Bangladesh authorities remain silent and let notorious propagandists like you in freely spreading misinformation and false information against the country? If anything like this happens in France (the country that employs you) or even the United States, shall those governments remain silent? Haven’t you seen how French President Emmanuel Macron has handled the recent protests? Aren’t you aware of actions taken by the US authorities against misinformation and propaganda?
In his propaganda material Qadaruddin Shishir has tried to defend Zulkarnain Saer Sami, a person with a criminal past.
About Zulkarnain Sami, Shishir wrote: “Khan has since joined Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit (AJIU) as a researcher and relocated himself to an undisclosed location. He has contributed a series of reports critical of Bangladesh’s current Awami League government”.
First of all, Zulkarnain Sami is not a member of Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit. We have cross-checked this matter with several top figures at Al Jazeera’s headquarters in Doha. Secondly, Sami has not “relocated” at any “undisclosed location”. He was expelled from Hungary and is currently living in the United Kingdom, where he has sought asylum.
Evidence against Zulkarnain Sami is plenty.
Shishir either may not have done any homework on Sami or has written this propaganda stuff at the advice and dictation of this criminal.
While French photo agency AFP should investigate such notorious activities of their Dhaka-based journalist, Anfrel should also go through fact-check about the above-mentioned propaganda stuff forthwith.