News Websites - Can face ban for unethical practice: HC
Directing that all unregistered news portals be banned, the High Court in the full text of its order has ruled that even if any registered news portal is involved in unethical practices like spreading disinformation, the government can ban its operation.
"The respondents [chairpersons of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and Bangladesh Press Council] are directed to take immediate step to ban all unregistered news portals except for the news portals described in Annexure- 'B' to the writ petition [92 registered news portals] within seven days from the receipt of the order copy.
"However, if the respondents find even the news portals mentioned in Annexure- 'B' to the writ petition to have involved in any unethical practice -- spreading disinformation, they are at liberty to ban such a news portal or portals," the bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah said in the full text of its order.
The two-page full text of order was released on Thursday as the HC bench on September 14 delivered the order in the open court, directing the respondents to ban the operations of all unregistered news portals across the country.
In the full text of order, the bench asked the respondents to file an affidavit on September 28 after complying with the directive.
The HC bench delivered the order during hearing a writ petition filed by Supreme Court lawyers Rasida Chowdhury Nilu and Zaren Rahman.
Rasida Chowdhury told The Daily Star that the HC bench has ordered to ban the operations of all unregistered online news portals except for 92 registered news portals.
The unregistered news portals are harmful for the citizens of the country as they run defamatory and character assassinating reports, comments and photographs about people, she said.
Following the same writ petition, the HC bench on August 16 this year issued a rule asking the information secretary, and chairpersons of BTRC and Bangladesh Press Council to explain why they should not be directed to formulate an ethical code of conduct for newspapers, form a broadcasting commission for electronic media, and ban operation of all unregistered online news portals.