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Will work to remove worries of journalists

Says info minister on Digital Security Act, other laws
Digital Security Act 2018

Information Minister Hasan Mahmud yesterday said he would work to remove the worries of journalists regarding some laws, including the Digital Security Act-2018.

“I will work to remove the worries of the journalist community regarding some laws, be it the Digital Security Act or others,” he said, replying to a question from a reporter.

The minister was talking at a views-exchange meeting with local journalists at Chattogram Circuit House. Some local Awami League leaders were also present.

Mahmud's comment came at a time when journalists and right activists have been expressing grave concern over the Digital Security Act, which was passed in parliament in September last year.

After the passage of the act, editors of the country's leading newspapers formed a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club in the capital to press for amending nine sections of the much-debated act to protect independent journalism and freedom of expression.

Yesterday, the information minister said he would look into whether the newspaper owners implement the wage board for journalists at their offices.

“We will look into whether anyone [newspaper owner] does not implement the wage board even after announcing that it would be implemented.”

Mahmud said television journalists should also be brought under a wage board. The information ministry would start working in this regard immediately, he added.

About the expansion of the online media, the minister said it would not be right to stop the expansion as it has become a global trend now. “But we will work so that those media houses can be run under proper rules and regulations.

“Regulations for online media are being formulated...they will have to get registered.... The operations of the online media which have sprouted up will be stopped following the implementation of the regulations.”

Speaking at the programme, Moslem Uddin Ahmed, president of Chattogram (south) district AL, said the party leaders and activists were ready to obey the instructions of cabinet members, but they would not accept if a minister's relatives and people surrounding him threw their weight behind any matters.

He urged the minister to remain aware of it.

Chattogram Mayor AJM Nasir Uddin, also the general secretary of Chattogram city AL, said the party would accord a reception to all the cabinet members from greater Chattogram in the city's Laldighi Maidan on January 29.