The government has finalised the draft of a policy that will make it mandatory for print newspapers, TV and radio stations to register their online versions.
The Ministry of Information will gather opinions of both officials and general people on the ‘National Online Mass Media Policy-2015’ until Aug 12.
This policy would be finalised after discussions with the editors of major print and electronic media, said Information Secretary Martuza Ahmed.
“We want to bring the online ones in order.
“Along with the current online newspapers, the online versions of the print newspapers, TV and radio stations will come under the mandatory registration policy,” he told bdnews24.com on Monday.
Online newspapers and outlets in Bangladesh have mushroomed, but the government had no guidelines for their supervision.
It is alleged that many of these online newspapers exists only in name.
The information secretary said the policy, once it came into effect, would decide which of the active online newspapers would be allowed to register.
The draft policy says not all online news outlets are playing a part in maintaining the standard of the mass media while they lack recognition and facilities under current circumstances.
The policy aims at ensuring ‘independence and accountability’ of the media outlets and upholding their basic rights and autonomy.
“Medias registered, declared or licensed for print or broadcast will have to register for online publication or broadcast,” it says, adding that the government would formulate independent laws or guidelines for this.
The policy will have provisions for determining the registration process, qualifications and disqualifications, and cancelling registration.
“However, the Ministry of Information will take necessary decisions in this regard until this policy or act is promulgated. This responsibility will soon fall on the Commission.”
This indicates that a commission will be formed to supervise the online media after it becomes official.
It also says the registered online media outlets will receive conditional government aid ‘based on justice and equality’ after the policy is in place.
According to the draft policy, any individual or organisation aggrieved by information published by any online version can lodge a complaint within 30 days with the commission against the institution which owns or runs that website.
The commission will investigate it and hold hearings within 60 days to settle the issue before recommending actions to the government.
Source: Bd news24