In some cases, intense completion to publish reports leads to some news reports being published with false information, he added
Information Minister Hasan Mahmud has said the government is set to begin registration of online media outlets with the aim of bringing discipline to the industry, adding that the authorities concerned will make a guideline for online media.
The minister made the comments while addressing a discussion marking the fifth anniversary of Bangla Tribune, held at its office in Dhaka yesterday.
“We will start registration of online media outlets. Currently, there is no registration process for online media outlets in Bangladesh,” he said.
“A significant amount of information has been collected for the registration, but it is yet to take place. We will start registration of online media outlets very soon, and registration will only be granted after tight scrutiny,” he added.
Stressing the importance of discipline in online media, Hasan Mahmud, also publicity and publication secretary of the ruling Awami League, said: “Online media is becoming popular among the masses. Many people open online media outlets and hand out press cards, but then abuse press privileges. This is why a registration process needs to be in place.”
In some cases, intense completion to publish reports leads to some news reports being published with false information, he added.
“In some other cases, fake online portals deliberately publish fake news with the aim of drawing public attention and spreading discontent. We need to prevent such a situation, which is why we are preparing a guideline,” the minister further said.
He also emphasized the need for a law in this regard.
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“Drafting a law for the press is different from doing the same for other issues. It does not take much time to draft a law for other sectors, but in the case of online media we are advancing slowly. We are trying to finish it as soon as possible,” Hasan Mahmud said, expressing hope the law would be completed in a few months.
The minister also praised Bangla Tribune for its objectivity and standards of reporting, describing the news portal’s investigative reporting in Bangladesh as “truly inspiring.”
Recalling that there used to be a handful of internet-only newspapers in the country, Hasan Mahmud said Bangladesh has seen exponential growth in online media outlets over the last decade.
Mentioning that there are now 31 TV stations operating in the country other than Bangladesh Television and 45 more are set to get licenses, he said: “There has been a massive change in mass media, and there is now significant competition between news outlets.”
He also said the press has been working independently in Bangladesh.
“Mass media cannot enjoy any such liberty in any other country, but there are some obstacles. Although the issues are not from the government, there are many who create them. I have been trying to ensure a healthy atmosphere where the mass media can work freely,” he added.
The minister thanked Kazi Anis Ahmed, publisher of Bangla Tribune, for regularly paying salaries and providing other benefits to journalists and employees of the news portal.
The event was also addressed by Bangla Tribune directors Kazi Nabil Ahmed and Amena Ahmed, the news portal’s Editor Zulfiqer Russell, Executive Editor Harun Ur Rashid, and Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan, among others.