THE cabinet on Monday approved the draft National Broadcast Policy-2014. Though the prefatory notes of the policy highlight the argument for ensuring freedom of the media with emphasis on its social responsibility, the long list of do's and don'ts that embody the draft policy clearly comes in conflict with that purported aim. The government move to strictly monitor and regulate the media, we are afraid, will ultimately turn out to be a sword of Damocles hanging over it. We are deeply concerned about the extremely dangerous line the government is taking to muzzle the media.
As we see it, the government has hurried through the whole process, putting the cart before the horse. We believe that there is the need for a broadcast policy, but the procedure of rushing it through bureaucracy at the government's diktat is flawed. Given the importance of the matter at hand it was imperative that deliberations were made with due diligence before adopting a draft.
What is primarily essential here is to form an independent broadcasting commission comprising competent, honest and media-savvy persons as the first step to initiate formulation of the policy. Then take all the stakeholders onboard, consult with them in order to come up with a comprehensive time-befitting national broadcast policy. Since a wrong procedure was followed to enunciate the policy, its outcome has naturally been flawed and anomalous.
Among the achievements that have enhanced the country's image are certain sectors of the economy including the garment industry, the social development indicators, and last but not least, the free media. Especially, courageous reportage and freely expressed views of the media have definitely added to the country's image.
We think the government will forgo its shortsighted approach having due regard for deleterious long-term impact of an ill-judged policy.