Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said Section 57 of the ICT Act should not be a cause of concern for the journalists as “no reporter had been arrested for serving news based on accurate information.”
He said: “Those, who were arrested or sent to the jail, must have been involved with political malpractice. None of them (journalists) were sent to jail for revelation of facts.”
The minister made the remarks while addressing a press meet at the Secretariat yesterday on the eve of Right to Information Day.
The day is being observed across the country today with a view to facilitating the common people in terms of access to information.
Regarding Section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act-2006, Inu further said: “Section 57 of the ICT Act is just like the other laws of the country. We have 34 such acts that do not permit a judge to grant bail to the accused.”
“Journalists, who were arrested under Section 57 of the ICT Act, failed to prove their innocence. They were picked up in connection with specific charges, not for their reports.”
“No journalists were harassed for criticising the activities of the government or publishing reports against the system,” he added.
Citing that no journalist had been arrested for breaching their professional ethics, Inu further said: “Journalists, who performed as a political leader while making reports and committed crimes under the Section 57 of ICT Act, had been arrested.”
Referring to the closure of a number of online news portals, he said: “We have shut down the offices of some 35 online news portals and halted their activities following specific allegation.
“The government has also sought explanation from the authorities of those news outlets, but unfortunately none of them came up with satisfactory replies. However, if anyone comes to us with satisfactory explanation, we will consider their plea for reopening their websites.”