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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Deception Through Name-Dropping & Selfie-Abuse

Faruk Ahmed :
 In a shocking turn of events, the nexus of the health sector got shaken when the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) sealed off the head office and two branches of Regent Hospital in Dhaka and the owner of the hospital, Md Shahed got arrested. The citizens of Bangladesh discovered with horror that the hospital authorities had taken BDT 20.1 million from nearly 6,000 patients by issuing forged coronavirus test reports, while it was supposed to provide free treatment for COVID-19. Around the same time, Dr. Sabrina, a government cardiac surgeon and the wife of JKG Health Care CEO Ariful Chaudhury, was suspended by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for violating government service rules by holding the post of chairman in a private organization without permission.Along with that the police brought charges against JKG Health Care for providing false reports without testing the swabs collected from the people for COVID-19 tests, a scandal that Dr. Sabrina is suspected to be closely involved with.
This scandal has not only tarnished the image of Bangladesh's health care sector as a whole, the perpetrators have also consciously committed crime against the citizens of this country. They have put the lives of the citizens in risk at a time when the government as well as the whole world is struggling to keep the humanity safe, despite all their efforts. Naturally these scandals got lots of attention in the media and as a result, numerous social media posts went viral regarding Shahed-Sabrina. The social media posts exposed how fraudster Shahed had developed relations with ministers, politicians, and senior journalists, civil and military bureaucrats and then exploited the relations to expand his health business by setting up the Regent hospital. Similarly, Dr. Sabrina was also seen publicly attending numerous social events with renowned faces of politics, media and business.
In a time when all the attendees of a social event have access to phones with camera and can go online to post in social media any time, it is quite impossible to hide public association with anyone. While culprits like Shahed-Sabrina ruin the faith that common people put in the expert practitioners, they also take public figures down with themselves. Nowadays, whenever a scandal like this takes place, presence of a few prominent figures is always found in the fraudsters' social media profiles through pictures and videos. Incidents like these lead to public figures (political figures, business tycoons and civil- military bureaucrats) being seen to scramble around, trying to justify their wrongful association. While they overcompensate in their justification and apologize for their mistakes, they fall from grace in the eyes of the common mass in an unfortunate and yet very efficient way. Fraudsters will always want to be involved with as many strategically important personalities as possible to increase their credibility. So it is up to the public figures to censor their public involvements as endorsing someone's business campaign or other self-interests might end up diluting their own social weight. They also need to forbid the common practice of name-dropping by these unscrupulous people for furthering their business goal and personal gains.
Hierarchy gives the leaders the right to take decisions for the mass. The way public images are getting damaged due to scandals of this sort, soon there will come a time when our people will start losing faith in the hierarchical positions which might lead to anarchy.
It should be the topmost priority of our bureaucrats, political leaders and business leaders to protect the sanctity of their positions. Losing respect is so much easier than earning and sustaining it in a name-dropping culture that Bangladesh is witnessing right now. Together with name-dropping, use of picture taken with highest leadership of the country in any event or function is used in an abated fashion to influence the minds of people for business gains and manifest personal association and circulation value in both elite and common circle.
Keeping the ill practice of name-dropping and random misuse of photographs with eminent personalities in mind, public leaders should become extremely cautious regarding the entities they are publicly seen to be mingling with. Besides, the organizations responsible to keep vigil on immoral practice of name-dropping and use of photographs for business gains, must thwart such moves well in time to save the painstakingly built reputation of our political leadership and senior appointment holders of state organs. Repetitive use of one picture of one event for all purposes leaves a telltale signature of an immoral intent, hence, easy to be noticed and taken care of.

(The writer is a senior journalist and Chairman of Bangladesh Journalists' Foundation For Consumers & Investors (BJFCI).Email:  dhakamoney@yahoo.com)