Ban illegal news sites
The High Court yesterday directed the government to ban operations of all unregistered online news portals across the country as they allegedly run defamatory photos of people and reports on them.
The chairpersons of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and Bangladesh Press Council have been asked to ban the portals in seven days after receiving the HC order.
The HC bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah delivered the order while hearing a writ petition filed by Supreme Court lawyers Rasida Chowdhury Nilu and Zaren Rahman.
Rasida Chowdhury Nilu told The Daily Star that the HC bench ordered banning the operations of all unregistered online news portals except for 92 registered ones.
The unregistered news portals are harmful for the citizens of the country as they run defamatory reports assassinating character of people. They also publish similar comments and photographs, she said.
Following the same writ petition, the HC bench on August 16 issued a rule asking the respondents to explain why they should not be directed to formulate an ethical code of conduct for newspapers, form a broadcasting commission for the electronic media, and ban operation of all unregistered online news portals.
Information secretary, and chairpersons of BTRC and Bangladesh Press Council were made respondents to the rule.
In the petition, lawyers Rasida Chowdhury Nilu and Zaren Rahman said the body of a 21-year-old college student was recovered from her rented flat on April 26 this year. Later, her family filed a case under section 360 of the Penal Code, 1860 for instigating or abetting suicide.
But some mainstream media organisations, particularly online news platforms, published the victim's photograph without blurring it.
Some news portals posted numerous reports, suggesting that the victim was of "questionable character", and due to the reports, the media have been flooded with comments that blame the victim.
BTRC and Bangladesh Press Council, however, have not taken any steps to stop their operation, said the petitioners.
They also stated in the petition that there are provisions under the Press Council Act, 1974 and National Broadcasting Policy, 2014 for formulating an ethical code of conduct and a broadcasting commission for the media, but those were not implemented.
Deputy Attorney General Nawroz MR Chowdhury represented the state during hearing of the petition yesterday.