New era | ERF demands a quick undoing of restrictions on journalists at the central bank

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This file photo shows the Bangladesh Bank headquarters in Motijheel in the capital Dhaka. | New Age photo

Journalists’ association Economic Reporters’ Forum demanded immediate lifting of restrictions on journalists’ access to the Bangladesh Bank, warning of another rigorous move.

The announcement was made on Monday at the ERF office in the capital Dhaka.

The ERF also denounced false claims made by BB’s Deputy Governor Khurshid Alam and senior officials regarding the ban on journalists’ access.

At a press conference, ERF President Mohammad Refayet Ullah Mirdha and General Secretary Abul Kashem expressed concern over Bangladesh Bank’s motives in preventing journalists from entering the bank.

In a written statement, the ERF president stressed that the sudden ban on journalists, introduced on March 21, contradicts the government’s position on press freedom. This restriction has fueled speculation and conspiracy theories about the financial sector and the economy.

The ERF has stated that if normal access for journalists is not restored, they will resort to strong protests after the national budget. They have also decided to boycott all events involving the governor, deputy governors and spokespersons of the Bangladesh Bank and refrain from publishing propaganda-based statements of the bank.

Moreover, the ERF president pointed to the deteriorating economic situation and attributed it to the loss of autonomy in the Bangladesh Bank. He cited the inability to control inflation, weak management of foreign exchange reserves and policy inconsistencies among different groups as major issues.

The ERF emphasized that everyone was aware of the instability in bank mergers and the current liquidity crisis in bank accounts. Despite these major problems, the Bangladesh Bank has chosen to deny access to journalists, which has led to increasing public concern.

Therefore, the ERF demands the immediate lifting of the ban on journalists’ access to the Bangladesh Bank to ensure access to accurate information on the economy.