Rizvi, Known for Spreading Rumors Against Awami League, Now Accuses Awami League of Rumor-Mongering

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Published on March 22, 2024
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"Resignation Amidst Pressure, Shocking News Breaks Just In", "Hasina Fails to Find Last Resort, Shocking News Just In", or "Celebration in Naya Paltan, Street Action Unfolding, Surprises Await" – these are among the recent headlines of videos uploaded daily on a YouTube channel targeting Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her government. Despite the daily production of numerous fake videos in support of the BNP, BNP Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi claimed in a press conference on March 17 that deepfake videos portraying BNP leaders are being circulated.

Ruhul Kabir Rizvi stated that the BNP media cell has uncovered instances of the Awami League fake videos based on rumors concerning BNP leaders. He alleged that the BNP has never initiated such rumors. However, the truth is that there have been numerous instances of rumors and propaganda circulated by the BNP medica cell against the Awami League in recent years.

Through analysis of news outlets and social media platforms, it's evident that there have been no rumors disseminated from Awami League’s official social media channels thus far. However, a plethora of rumors has originated from the BNP media cell, its Facebook page, and Twitter account. Additionally, rumors are consistently circulated by BNP supporters and through various BNP-affiliated social media platforms. Thousands of YouTube channels and Facebook pages are utilized for this purpose. In addition, there are also numerous instances where the BNP has propagated rumors through its official social media platforms.

On September 20, a post circulated with the caption 'Attack by Awami League, Jubo League-Chhatra League terrorists on the houses of the Buddhist community in Raozan Upazila of Chittagong.' However, the Raozan Upazila Buddha Oikya Parishad declared it entirely fabricated and lacking basis. Subsequently, at 8:08 PM, the official Facebook page of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) shared several photos depicting the alleged attack and vandalism, accompanied by the caption 'Attack by Awami League, Jubo League-Chhatra League terrorists on the houses of the Buddhist community in Raozan Upazila of Chittagong. During this incident, the perpetrators vandalized houses and furniture, and assaulted women and children.' In response, the Raozan Upazila Buddha Oikya Parishad issued a press release later that evening. Signed by the organization's president, Sukumar Barua, and general secretary, Angshuman Barua, the circular was titled 'Protest Against Fabricated and Baseless Post Published on the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Facebook Page.'

Additionally, on December 7, 2022, following a clash between the BNP and the police, numerous videos and photos surfaced on the two officially verified Facebook pages of the BNP. These posts alleged that Awami League leaders and activists, dressed in Argentine jerseys, were engaging in terrorist activities. A video message, posted by the BNP's verified page BNP Media Cell, shared a YouTube link titled 'Awami terrorists open fire on BNP activists.' The video depicted a man wearing an Argentina jersey firing shots. Another video, also shared on the same page, showed an Ansar member wearing an Argentine jersey, with the caption stating, 'Awami terrorists, along with the police, openly fired at BNP leaders and activists.'

In the meantime, the officially verified page of the BNP shared the video featuring this Ansar member and captioned it, 'Armed terrorists, accompanied by the police, also assaulted the BNP Naya Paltan central office.'
Meanwhile, media investigations uncovered the truth that the individual wearing the Argentine jersey was a member of Ansar. Despite receiving the accurate information after disseminating incorrect details, the BNP did not express any regret regarding the issue.

In November 2023, rumors regarding an import-export ban were also spread through the BNP's media cell social media platform. Again, since July 2022, numerous senior BNP leaders had been claiming that Khaleda Zia would assume control of the country starting from December 10, or that "the country will be governed from December 10 under the guidance of Tarique Rahman." Nevertheless, none of their claims came true.

The dissemination of such rumors through the BNP's official statements and social media platforms is not a recent phenomenon. The party has repeatedly circulated false and misleading information via its verified channels. From issues ranging from the construction of the Padma Bridge to the management of the coronavirus pandemic, misleading narratives have been propagated from these platforms. The party has also instilled panic by suggesting an increase in the country's death rate due to the lack of a coronavirus vaccine. Furthermore, Khaleda Zia, the party's top leader, came under criticism for providing a controversial list in 2013 regarding missing people in the country. One notable instance of the party's significant falsehood occurred during a press conference when someone was introduced to reporters as an advisor to US President Joe Biden. Rizvi alleged that 'Awami League is disseminating deepfake videos about senior BNP leadership,' despite failing to provide any evidence of such rumors originating from the official platforms of the Awami League.