Rejoinder to 'SQ's relatives unperturbed'

New Age journalist David Bergman has e-mailed a rejoinder to a bdnews24.com report and it is being placed here for the record without any editing at all.

News Deskbdnews24.com
Published : 7 Oct 2013, 01:12 PM
Updated : 7 Oct 2013, 02:05 PM

"I am surprised at bdnews24.com's references to me in an article published on 1 October 2013 under the title, 'SQ's relatives unperturbed'
http://bdnews24.com/bangladesh/2013/10/01/sqs-relatives-unperturbed

Your article makes several innuendos and states, in particular: 'Proponents of the tribunal have alleged that the New Age reporter maintains ties to those on trial for crimes against humanity during 1971.'

That is an inaccurate and defamatory allegation which you have no right to publish.

I have no 'ties', as bdnews24.com puts it, with any of those on trial for crimes against humanity. Since Chowdhury was arrested in December 2010 and prior to the Chowdhury judgment given nearly three years later, I have spoken to Hasina Sinha (Salauddin Quader Chowdhury’s sister) and one of Salauddin Quader Chowdhury’s sons a few times at the tribunal premises. Nothing more.
Many other journalists from national newspapers also do the same. As I’m sure you’ll appreciate, there is nothing wrong in doing this. As a journalist, it is necessary to have discussions with everyone involved in the ICT processes to report on the proceedings accurately, and from all sides. I of course also hold conversations with investigators and prosecutors, where necessary.
In bdnews24’s short reference to me, the reporter also makes two basic errors of fact:
1. It was stated that 'Hasina walked up to Bergman to exchange greetings.' That is not true. As I was walking out of the tribunal grounds, I saw Hasina and I asked her a number of questions. She did not 'walk-up' to me. It is completely clear from the photograph on the page that I am simply asking her for information, - which I assume that bdnews24 accepts is normal journalistic practice.
2. You also say that I spoke 'for a few minutes'. This is untrue. I must have spoken to her for perhaps 30 seconds.
I should note that after the tribunal judgment, there must have been between 50 to 100 journalists present, and almost all of them were interviewing Chowdhury’s family members. I therefore fail to understand why you thought it appropriate to mention me at all in your article.
Please publish this rejoinder on your website, as is normal journalistic practice, or remove all the text and picture referring to me in your inaccurate and defamatory article along with an explanation for such removal.
Please could you respond to this by return and inform me which of the two options above you have decided to take."
bdnews24.com stands by the report.
Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher