12:00 AM, November 26, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 26, 2008

Restrictions on media obstacle to fair elections

Speakers tell seminar

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DU Correspondent

Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Prof SMA Faiz speaks at a seminar at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban auditorium at DU yesterday. Sitting from left are Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman, Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique and Shawkat Mahmud.Photo: STAR

Speakers at a seminar yesterday criticised the Election Commission (EC) for framing a code of conduct for the mass media covering the national election, saying that such restrictions may lead to a 'controlled' election and manipulation.
But Education and Commerce Adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman, who was present as the chief guest, said that although different quarters are sceptical about an acceptable election, the government is working sincerely to hold a free, fair and credible election.
He sought cooperation of all, including the media, to this end.
The government, the Election Commission and the mass media are not against each other, the adviser said and urged the media to look into the needs of the voters alongside highlighting various aspects of the candidates and politicians.
Dhaka University Journalists' Association (Duja) organised the seminar on 'Democracy and Election: Role of Mass Media', at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban auditorium at DU.
DU Vice-Chancellor Prof SMA Faiz inaugurated the seminar and the annual reunion ceremony of Duja.
Prof Asif Nazrul, a teacher of law department of DU, presented the keynote paper at the seminar.
Former president of Dhaka University Teachers' Association Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique, Chief Editor of Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) Zaglul Ahmed Chowdhury, President of the National Press Club Shawkat Mahmud also spoke the seminar.
The speakers observed that restrictions on the media are unprecedented in a civilised society. These restrictions are obstacles to ensuring a free and fair election.
They also said the EC cannot impose any conditions on the media. It is the press council which has the right to introduce rules and regulations for the media, they added.
Prof Arefin Siddique said no news without reliable and competent source should be published. The role of media is very important to remove doubts from the minds of people, he added.
Duja also accorded a reception to its founding and former members at the Teacher-Student Centre auditorium and a cultural function was held in the evening.

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