bdnews24.com threatened over poll

Several people have threatened bdnews24.com after an overwhelming number of readers supported a ban on the Jamaat-e-Islami in a regular opinion poll.

The unidentified callers said the online poll was being “manipulated”.

“What you are doing is not right,” said one of them late Sunday night.

“He was clearly threatening,” said a Deputy News Editor, who answered the phone.

There were also numerous emails to different bdnews24.com addresses.

On Sunday, Bangladesh’s largest and first Internet newspaper asked people to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on: “Jamaat-e-Islami, which opposed the 1971 Liberation War, has no right to be part of politics in Bangladesh. Do you agree with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s comment in light of countrywide demand seeking ban on Jamaat?”

In the poll for the English edition, as many as 85 percent of the 7917 readers wanted the Jamaat outlawed.

Its Bengali site poll had 90 percent of 19732 participants backing the Prime Minister on the issue.

bdnews24.com started receiving the calls on Sunday afternoon and callers continued till very late into night when the poll was still going on.

Several newsroom editors, who received the calls of the anonymous callers, said most of them issued veiled threat.

One ‘Apu’ from Jatrabari called from a Grameenphone number – 01713007978. Another caller used a Robi number – 01815644119 – but the man refused to provide his identity.

Several individuals called in bdnews24.com’s PABX landlines while a call was also made to the personal phone of a Deputy News Editor.

The individual who called from the Robi number told the Deputy News Editor, “You are manipulating the poll. What you are doing is not right.”

The Deputy News Editor said the callers did not wish to listen when he tried to explain the process of the online poll.

The phone numbers of the calls made via PABX landline could not be identified.

A bdnews24.com spokesperson said there was no scope for any manipulation in the automated poll.

“There is no way an online opinion poll like this can be manipulated,” the spokesperson said. “This poll is conducted every day to get the readers’ opinion on an issue based on a news report published that day.
“The poll’s result is determined automatically. There was no human intervention from our side.

“When we detected many votes from one IP address in many instances, we imposed the one vote-one IP rule, which has been the international practice.”

The spokesperson said police had been informed of the threats.

Source: bdnews24

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