The Association of Television Channel Owners (ATCO) yesterday demanded the immediate formation of an independent broadcast commission to implement the National Broadcast Policy-2014 for the electronic media.
An organisation comprising the country's private television stations, it also urged the government not to implement the policy until the commission is formed with qualified people.
ATCO leaders put forward their demands upon discussing the policy at a meeting at its Kakrail office in the capital.
“We fear misuse of the policy if the information ministry implements it before the formation of the commission,” said Shykh Siraj, director of Channel i and general secretary of ATCO, while briefing reporters on the discussion.
Electronic media people have been demanding a fair policy to run the industry smoothly, he said, adding that a broadcast commission should be formed to regulate television and radio channels.
“The broadcast media has come a long way in the last two decades. We want it to flourish further for the sake of democracy.”
Asked about objectionable matters in the policy, he stressed the need for an independent commission comprising all stakeholders, which would address those issues.
Members of the organisation would soon meet the information minister and raise their reservations about the policy before him, said ATCO Chairman Mossadek Ali, who is also chairman and managing director of NTV.
Managing Director of Ekattor TV Mozammel Haq said they had reservations about what the policy said in reference to the armed forces, law enforcement agencies, government officials and talk shows.
“Nobody wants to demean them and we give our utmost efforts to maintain a balance on the talk shows,” he said, adding that the media had come to the present state after overcoming many hurdles.
“We want to move forward, not backward,” Mozammel said.
The weekly cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the policy on Monday.
Many involved in the broadcast media said the government might misuse it in the name of maintaining standards in news, programmes and advertisements in the electronic media.
The policy did not mention any timeframe for the formation of the commission. Taking advantage of the situation, the government may dillydally over constituting the commission and allow the information ministry to enforce the policy, they added.
The policy will be in force once the ministry issues a gazette notification, which is scheduled for today. The authority for implementing the policy will be conferred on the commission after its formation.
The information ministry will place a bill in parliament to enact the National Broadcast Act, which will have directives on the formation of the commission.