WE are relieved at Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu's emphatic statement made to the parliamentary body on his ministry, and repeated to the press later, that the government has no plans to restore a controversial provision of the Printing Presses and Publication Act of 1973, relating to DC's power to cancel newspaper declaration. It was known as 'black law' to gag the media or curb its freedom. It is undoubtedly a very judicious and prudent decision of the government towards protecting freedom of the press which is the cornerstone of a free, democratic society. The minister's assurance should now dispel misgivings about the government's earlier move to review the said provision by forming a committee to this effect.
We would like to highly commend the strong stance that the parliamentary committee on the information ministry took against the purported move to revive the controversial provision terming it 'suicidal and irrational.'
Mostly governments, in any part of the world, do not like a free press. But experience has shown that there is a direct link between good governance and a strong, free media. It is this experience that the people of Bangladesh have embraced. Thus, no government in the future will be able to gag the press without paying a heavy price in terms of public support.
We are glad that our government and our parliament have understood it and have pledged to support the free press.