TIB Chairman's Statement on Anti-corruption Commission Act 2004
On 17 February, few hours ahead of the passage of the Anti-corruption Commission Bill 2004 into law, TIB organized a press conference in its office. TIB expressed its opinion that the bill did not provide for an independent anti-corruption commission as demanded by civil society. As it will not enjoy any financial privilege in the way the Election Commission and the Office of Comptroller and Auditor General does, its activities will be affected. Professor Murshid said. "It will become a submissive and ineffective body like the Bureau of Anti-Corruption." TIB Chairman feared that the government might influence appointment of the commissioners, as the bill did not have any provision for inclusion of a representative from the opposition in the selection panel.
However, later Professor Khan Sarwar Murshid commended the good sense of the government in dropping the provision exempting government officials from prosecution without previous sanction of the government, which makes for a significant qualitative change in the law finally enacted.
Three journalists Receive Investigative Journalism Award
TIB awarded the Investigative Journalism Award -2003 to three journalists of the print media for their effort in exposing corruption through investigative reports. This award was announced on 29 February. Prizes were distributed among the winners at an unostentatious ceremony held at the Women's Voluntary Association at Dhanmondi, Dhaka. Professor Khan Sarwar Murshid, Chairman of TIB chaired the award ceremony. Theotonius Gomez, Assistant Bishop of Dhaka, Poet Shamsur Rahman and TIB trustee Professor Muzaffer Ahmad were present at the occasion.
Senior Reporter of the Daily Janakantha, Sharifuzzaman and Senior Reporter of the Daily Star-Zayadul Ahsan jointly received the first prize. Liton Haider, Staff Reporter, the Daily Bhorer kagoj won the second position.
Zayadul was awarded for his investigative report titled 'Murky way to millions' that brought to light how Titas Gas meter readers become millionaires through rampant corruption. The Daily Star published the series report in May 2002.
Sharifuzzaman received the award for exposing various misleading facts in the textbooks through a series report titled 'Boroder boi Ja Shekhachhey' (what textbook teaches) published in the Janakhantha during January and February 2002.
Liton got the award for his investigative report titled 'Kara Durnitee' exposing corruption, irregularities and mismanagement in the prison. The report was published in Bhorer Kagoj in August 2002.
Both Zayadul and Sharifuzzaman received cheques for Tk. 50,000 each, certificates and crests while Liton got a cheque for Tk. 10,000 with a certificate and a crest.
The panel of judges for the Investigative Journalism Award 2003 comprised journalist Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, Dr Asif Nazrul and Dr. Arefin Siddique of Dhaka University, Financial Express Editor Moazzem Hossain and writer Selina Hossain.