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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Dr. Rice's Reported Comments On

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DHAKA 001450

SIPDIS

FOR I/FW, B/G, IIP/G/NEA-SA, B/VOA/N (BANGLA SERVICE) STATE
FOR SA/PAB, SA/PPD (LSCENSNY, SSTRYKER), SA/RA, INR/R/MR,
AND PASS TO USAID FOR ANE/ASIA/SA/B (WJOHNSON)

CINCPAC FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR, J51 (MAJ TURNER), J45
(MAJ NICHOLLS)

USARPAC FOR APOP-IM (MAJ HEDRICK)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR OIIP OPRC KPAO PREL ETRD PTER ASEC BG OCII
SUBJECT: Media Reaction: Dr. Rice's reported comments on
Bangladesh; Dhaka


Summary: English language daily "New Age" op-ed says that it
is quite clear that there was no specific mention of any
Indo-US joint initiatives with regard to Bangladesh.
Bangladeshi political affiliation is so blinding that one
does not even hesitate to condemn the entire nation and rip
asunder the country_fs image if it is convenient to a
partisan political agenda.
------------------------------------------
Dr. Rice's reported comments on Bangladesh
------------------------------------------
"Motivated Journalism Troubling Bangladesh "
Independent English language daily "New Age" op-ed
(03/29/05) says:
Be it politics or the press, political affiliation is so
blinding that one does not even hesitate to condemn the
entire nation and rip asunder the country_fs image alongside
that of the government if that is convenient for partisan
political agenda.
An example of such journalistic bigotry has been the recent
coverage given by a section of our press to the comment on
Bangladesh made by the US Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza
Rice during her visit to India on 16 March. I browsed the
official websites of the US State Department, the US embassy
in New Delhi as well as the relevant Indian and Bangladeshi
press sites and found some interesting twists to the whole
episode. For example, Bangladesh was mentioned not even once
in the US State Department transcript on the joint press
conference in New Delhi (16 March) attended by Indian
Minister for External Affairs Natwar Singh and US Secretary
of State Dr. Rice. The same was true in case of the
statements issued by the US embassy in New Delhi. But
surprisingly, the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) circulated
a news on 16 March quoting an unnamed senior US embassy
official as saying that the US had suggested that the _etwo
countries work together in Bangladesh_f in view of the
_egeneral deterioration of security_f in Bangladesh. _eThe
official was referring to the spiraling violence and the
growing assertiveness by fundamentalist groups in that
country_f, so said the IANS dispatch. Judging from the
anonymous nature of the source, it is most likely that the
Indian news agency had merely cooked up the story to satisfy
certain hostile quarters that find it advantageous to
stigmatize the Bangladeshi nation as well as its
democratically elected government.
It is quite clear from the foregoing that there was no
mention of any Indo-US joint initiative on Bangladesh. But
on the basis of the above transcript, the first line of our
BDNEWS story published by the leading national dailies was
_eUS Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has said,
Bangladesh is becoming _equite troubling_f and there is more
that the USA and India could do_f. What a distorted
presentation of facts! A section of the Indian and Western
press may be justified in forever seeking holes in the
social and political fabric of Bangladesh, but it is beyond
comprehension why our very own press should go out of the
way to put slur on the Bangladeshi nation.

The latest twist in this whole string of anti-Bangladesh
propaganda centering on Dr. Rice_fs visit to India was the
UNB (United News of Bangladesh - a private wire service)
story published in the national dailies on 22 March. The
story says: _eThere has been no development of specific
initiatives on US-Indo cooperation on issues pertaining to
Bangladesh, a spokesperson for the US embassy told UNB,
responding to a query about what US Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice had stated in India about the US-India
initiatives to deal with the security situation in
Bangladesh_f. If the story had ended there as an admission
of earlier reporting errors, that would have earned kudos
from the adherents of ethical journalism. But the story
continues with another round of vitriolic utterances on the
state of affairs in Bangladesh: _eThe US mission in Dhaka,
along with counterparts of other donor organizations, are
concerned by the deterioration of governance in Bangladesh -
especially by political violence and the law and order
situation. The spokesperson said, _eThreats to, and attacks
upon the press, the political opposition, cultural
institutions, and minority communities are all causes for
concern." This is what we call motivated, partisan and
unpatriotic journalism.
Chammas

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