National broadcast act: Draft law to be placed in cabinet soon

The draft of the National Broadcast Act-2016 would be placed before the cabinet for approval soon, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said yesterday.

“The committee, led by Prof Golam Rahman, that worked on formulating the national broadcast act has submitted the draft to the ministry which is reviewing it. Within a few days, we will place it before the cabinet for approval,” he said.

The information minister was talking to journalists at a press briefing at his ministry office.

On December 23, 2014, the government formed a 38-member committee to draft the Broadcast Act according to which a broadcast commission would be constituted immediately after the law comes into effect.

The draft law has a provision of jail term and fine for violating the rules or regulations of the act and orders or directives of the proposed broadcast commission. Criminal procedures would be followed in case of probe, trial and appeal concerning any offence under the act.

One may face a maximum penalty of three months' imprisonment or a fine of Tk 5 lakh or both for violating the rules or regulations and orders or directives of the commission, it says.

Besides, if anyone runs broadcast without prior approval under the law or other related laws, the guilty person may face a maximum penalty of seven years in jail or a fine of Tk 10 crore or both, the draft reads.

It mentions 27 types of activities that a broadcaster cannot carry out without prior approval from the authorities concerned.

The commission would prepare a guideline for the broadcasters and regularly monitor whether they are properly following the National Broadcast Policy, the guideline and the code of ethics, it says.

The commission would be given the authority to take measures against a broadcaster if any content of broadcast poses a threat to security, territorial integrity, peace, public order and unity of the country or if it is vulgar, false and malicious.

In August, 2014, the information ministry published a gazette on the National Broadcast Policy-2014 for television and radio amid concerns from rights activists and media personalities about a possible misuse of some of its provisions.

About registration of online media, Inu said preparation of the draft of the proposed National Online Mass Media Policy was at the final stage. He added that they had already received more than 1,700 applications for online media registration, which were being reviewed.

“Discussion about how we will register them is ongoing. It's at the final stage,” he said, adding that a final decision on registration for online media would be made based on the online media policy.

The information minister said flow of correct information is required to resist militancy and propaganda.

source:Daily star