The newly formulated national broadcast policy is conflicting with the country's Right to Information (RTI) Act, Sultana Kamal, chairperson of Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), said today.
“The policy is conflicting with the country's constitution, democratic norms and values, human rights and Right to Information Act," Sultana said while speaking at a press conference at Hotel Abakash in the capital.
Rejecting the broadcast policy, Sultana said the entire policy is aimed at controlling the press.
She said the policy has been formulated abruptly. “A common ground for formulating such policy will have to find out through broader consultative process,” she added.
The TIB official further said there is no clear timeframe in the policy on the formation of its independent commission.
Due to this loophole, a scope has already been created for the information ministry to establish its supremacy on the mass media, Sultana added.
TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman, who also attended the conference, said the broadcast policy will curb the freedom of press.
Terming it "repressive", the TIB official said, “"The policy is unfit for the 21st century”.
The anti-graft watchdog came up with its reaction a week after the government published a gazette on the National Broadcast Policy-2014 despite widespread criticism from different media and rights groups and political parties.
The cabinet approved the policy on August 4 keeping much scope for the government to misuse the policy in the name of maintaining standard of news, programmes and advertisements in the electronic media.
Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star, engages with Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu on the newly formulated broadcast policy at a television talk show on August 11, 2014.