Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury has criticised the Bangladesh media for what she termed “a motivated campaign” on the use by unscrupulous traders of the carcinogen, formalin, in fruits.
“It is said in case of some people (in this case, the local media) -a little learning can be a dangerous thing. They started writing about formalin without knowing enough about the technical side of things. That was an ignorant campaign by the media…well it was a combination of ignorance for some, and a motivated campaign for the others,” she said.
“There was over-exaggeration or hype in their reporting on formalin, which could be avoided,” she added.
Matia came up with the remarks while addressing a seminar on preservation and marketing of mango organised by Chapainawabganj Zilla Samiti at Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB).
Specifically, the veteran AL leader claimed it was the mango-growers of Chapainawabganj who suffered most due to the often overzealous media coverage on formalin over the last two years in particular.
Urging journalists to seek mercy for their writings as it caused damage to mango-traders, she referred to the embarrassment suffered recently by leading Bangla daily Prothom Alo after it had to withdraw a story, and also pay a fine for printing it in the first place. “Those who wrote on formalin now seek mercy. But no-one has confessed or sought mercy yet (for the formalin stories).”
Matia Chowdhury, in her third stint as agriculture minister, also pledged government will standby mango producers and extend support for them to survive in the export market.
Urging merchants to produce at least one mango for every person, she also urged them to spread mango cultivation into other districts of the country to meet the demand. She also stressed adapting new technology in transporting and packaging mangoes while marketing.- UNB