The High Court has ordered the closure of all unauthorized and unregistered news portals except 92. The BTRC chairman and the chairman of the press council have been asked to implement the directive within the next seven days.
The High Court bench comprising Justice Mojibur Rahman Mia and Justice Kamrul Hossain Mollah passed the order after the hearing of a writ petition on Tuesday (August 16).
Lawyers Jarin Rahman and Rashida Chowdhury Neelu were present in the court for the writ petition.
Earlier on May 5, a legal notice was sent to the concerned media asking them to formulate an ‘ethical policy’ for publishing any news including sensitive news. The notice was sent to the Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Chairman of BTRC and Chairman of Bangladesh Press Council. However, lawyers Jarin Rahman and Rashida Chowdhury Neelu filed a writ petition in the High Court without getting any reply to the notice.
According to the writ petition, a case was filed under Section 306 of the Penal Code for inciting suicide in the recent recovery of the body of a 21-year-old girl in the capital. The news about this incident has been unacceptably spread in the media of the country, especially in various online news portals. However, neither the BTRC nor the Press Council has taken any initiative to stop the distribution of these news.
In this situation, it has become urgent for the Bangladesh Press Council to formulate ethical policies in the field of news coverage. At the same time, BTRC has not taken any action despite the launch of unregistered news portals in the country. So the registration of these portals is also important.
Following the hearing of the writ petition, the High Court issued a rule asking why unauthorized and unregistered online media should not be shut down in the country as per the ‘National Online Mass Media Policy-2017’.