Newspaper, TV, radio need registrations to run online news portals

Cabinet okays changes to 2017 policy

Mustafizur  Rahman  | Published: 00:30, Sep 01,2020


All newspapers, television channels and radio stations will need to obtain separate government registration for running online news portals.

The cabinet on Monday okayed the draft National Online Mass Media Police 2017 (Amended 2020), making the mandatory provision.

The approval came just a week after the Editors’ Council opposed the government move to make the registration mandatory.

‘The licensed television channels and radio stations will need to get registered to operate online news portals as thy are not entitled to run online news portals as per  the licences they have taken from the government,’ cabinet secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said at a briefing after the cabinet meeting.

He said that the newspapers would need to take separate permission from the authorities if they made any variation in online versions from their print version. They will, however, need no separate permission for publishing their print version online, he said.

As per the 2017 policy, all media outlets already registered for publication of newspapers or licensed for broadcasting did not require further registration with the proposed National Broadcast Commission or information ministry to run their online news portals.

The information ministry proposed the changes in the weekly cabinet meeting held virtually with prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair at her residence Ganabhaban. The cabinet members attended it from the Cabinet Division.

Anwarul said that the information ministry would set an authority to give the permission for operating the online news portals since the commission was yet to be instituted.

In a statement on August 24, Editors’ Council said that newspapers should not require separate registrations for their online versions.

The government recently published a list of 34 online news portals which did not include any known, major and acceptable newspapers’ portals, said the statement sent by the council’s general secretary Naem Nizam.

In June, 2017, the cabinet approved the policy to monitor and regulate online mass media, making registrations mandatory for all internet-based radio, television and newspaper.

Each media outlet under the purview of the policy must have specific ‘charter of duties’ and editorial policy that shall not go against the policy and shall be approved by the commission, said the 2017 policy.

Monday’s cabinet also endorsed a draft of the ‘Narcotics (Amendment) Bill 2020 keeping a provision of holding the trial of drug related cases in competent courts instead of tribunals as prescribed previously to expedite disposal of drug related cases.

It also approved in principle the draft of the Medical College (Governing Bodies) (Repeal) Bill 2020.

The cabinet approved a proposal of the youth and sports ministry to celebrate August 5 every year as the birthday of Sheikh Kamal, the eldest son of the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

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