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HC rules banning unregistered news portals

Published : Wednesday, 15 September, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 814

The High Court (HC) on Tuesday asked the authorities concerned to shut down the unregistered news portals operating illegally in seven days.
The HC ordered that all unauthorised and unregistered news portals must be closed down except the registered 92 news portals.
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) chairman and the Press Council chairman have been asked to implement the directive in seven days after receiving the order.
A virtual HC bench of Justice Md Muzibur Rahman Mia and Justice Md Quamrul Hossain Mollah passed the order after hearing a writ petition filed by two Supreme Court lawyers Jarin Rahman and Rashida Chowdhury Nilu as public interest litigation.
Petitioner Barrister Jarin Rahman and Adv Rashida Chowdhury Neelu appeared for the writ while Deputy Attorney General Nowroz Md Russell Chowdhury represented the State.
Earlier, on August 16, the same HC bench issued a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain why it should not be directed to formulate an ethical conduct for the media of the country.
Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), and Chairman of the Bangladesh Press Council had been asked to respond to the rule within four weeks.
On May 5, the two lawyers sent a legal notice to the respondents seeking 'ethical conduct' for the journalists. After not getting any response from the respondent, they filed the petition with the HC in this regard.
In the notice they said that after the body of a 21-year-old girl was recovered in the capital recently, a case was filed under Section 306 of the Penal Code for abetting of the suicide. The incident was covered unacceptably by the local media, especially by online news portals. But, neither the BTRC nor the Press Council took any initiative to stop such news.
Against such a backdrop, formulating ethical conduct for local media has become urgent. At the same time, the registration of online news portals has also become urgent since the BTRC has taken no action against unregistered news sites, it added.

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