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Two laws on media may be tabled in JS third session

Published : Wednesday, 24 April, 2019 at 12:00 AM  Count : 768

The government has finalised two draft laws on media - the Media Employees Act (Conditions of Service), 2019 and the
Broadcast Act, 2019 - after consultation with the stakeholders.
Although the Ministry of Information has a plan to place those to the upcoming session of the Jatiya Sangsad (JS), those would be placed in the third session of the parliament. Following necessary procedures, the bill will be submitted to the JS Secretariat, Information Minister Hasan Mahmud on Tuesday said while briefing journalists at his Ministry office.
"We would not be able to place the two bills in the JS session beginning on Thursday. But we hope to place the bills in the next session," he added.
Earlier, the Minister held a meeting with Broadcast Journalists' Center (BJC) leaders at the Secretariat. BJC Chairman Rezwanul Haque Raja, Member Secretary Shakil Ahmed and senior member Syed Ishtiaque Reza were present in the meeting, among others.
Hasan Mahmud said the Ministry has already finalised the draft of the two laws on protecting the rights of the media employees and broadcast media. Those drafts were sent to the Ministry of Law for expert opinion.
"The Law Ministry was requested for quick vetting of the laws. We hope they will do so. After the vetting, we will place the bills before the Cabinet for approval for placing in parliament," the Minister said, adding once the bills are passed in parliament, safety and security of the journalists including job security will be ensured.
"Being the publicity secretary of ruling Awami League, I know everything about media," he claimed millions of Taka is being laundered through advertisements in foreign channels, creating fund crisis in domestic channels. It has created many problems in paying journalist's salaries.
In many cases, news sections of TV channels are being shut down. None of these would have happened if advertisements were not given to foreign channels, he said, adding that the government has taken steps to prevent giving advertisements to foreign medias.
The government has formed a trust for giving necessary assistance for the ailing journalists. There is no option of giving any other supports from the fund. Considering the situation, the government is also planning to ensure supports for the jobless journalists. Those, who will lose their jobs due to various reasons, would also get supports, he added.
Responding to a demand of the journalist leaders, the Minister assured them of necessary support in organizing the Asia Summit of journalists in Dhaka.

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