Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu yesterday said his ministry was not thinking of reviving a provision of the Printing Presses and Publications (Declaration and Registration) Act, 1973 regarding cancellation of declaration of newspapers.
“Right now, the ministry has no headache regarding the issue,” he told newsmen at the secretariat.
Asked to clarify his ministry's position on the matter, Inu said, “I have received no proposal in this regard.”
The minister's remarks came a day after he assured members of the parliamentary committee on the information ministry that the government had no plan to revive the provision.
The deputy commissioner of Dhaka proposed to revive the provision which would empower the DCs to cancel declaration of newspapers for running reports that are anti-state or hurting religious sentiments.
The DCs will discuss the issue today with the information ministry officials, according to the schedule of the DC conference.
Sources at the secretariat said the proposal was made in line with the directives of political leadership.
Prime minister's political adviser HT Imam is in favour of the proposal. He recently told a private television channel that the DCs should be given back the jurisdiction of cancelling declaration of newspapers if those breach the conditions of the declaration of newspapers.
Asked whether the proposal would come up at the DC conference, the information minister said DCs can place many proposals regarding problems in their districts.
“They've placed a proposal for reviving the provision, but the information ministry is not discussing it… Even if they suggest for reviving the provision, there is no question of discussing it right now,” he mentioned.
Enquired about whether the DCs should enjoy the power to cancel declaration of newspapers, Inu replied, “I don't want to discuss it. It's not an agenda.”
The information ministry has recently formed a committee to review laws related to printing and publications and recommend necessary changes to update the laws.
The provision of the act was used for closing many newspapers until the caretaker government, headed by Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed, had scrapped the provision in 1991 following a movement by journalists.