The Bangladesh government is unhappy with The Economist, the famed international weekly published out of London. More specifically, Bangladesh’s government seems to believe that The Economist has not practiced accurate or impartial reporting on two recent feature articles on Bangladesh, titled “Banged about” and “Hello, Delhi”. On June 14th, 2012, The Economist published a letter from the Bangladeshi government in response to these two articles.
The letter was written by Syed Masud Mahmood Khundoker, Director General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bangladesh, in which he states: “We feel very sad to see a gradual deterioration of quality and objectivity in the articles…” The published letter also alleges that the articles are “biased” and ignore the achievements and improvements that Bangladesh had made. Khundoker proceeds to quote the assessment of none other than United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, who in 2011 stated that Bangladesh is continuing to improve “public services, including sanitation and fresh water”. The letter defends Bangladesh’s government and the progress that they have made in the past three years. Ultimately the letter accuses The Economist of “poor journalism”.
The Economist simply responded by publishing the letter from the Bangladeshi government, allowing readers to make their own conclusion and decide who is in the right.
That seems to ASIA MEDIA the right way to handle it. It makes no sense for a well-respected magazine to get down in the gutter with a government spokesman and kick-start a debate. In general, though, governments generally loses arguments with media they cannot control, especially when they publish the truth.