May 27, 2024

BSS, DHAKA: State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Mohammad Ali Arafat has expressed solidarity with the journalists regarding their demand to stop the operation of unregistered and illegal online news portals and assured them of taking measures to this end.

“As you, the journalists, have demanded to stop the operation of unregistered and illegal online news portals, I completely agree with you. I will take steps to meet your demand,” he said.

The state minister said this at a meeting with the executive committee of the Online News Portal Association Bangladesh (ONAB) at the conference room of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in the Bangladesh Secretariat.

The government of Bangabandhu’s daughter Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina believes in free media and full freedom of the press, Arafat said, adding, “We have no intention to monitor or control the media or online news portals.”

“However, your (professional journalists) suggestion for monitoring the news portals for bringing discipline in media proved that the government doesn’t control the media”, he said, adding the operation of unregistered online news portals is the example of how much freedom the mass media is enjoying in the country.

Because of the limitless freedom being enjoyed by the mass media, there is a lack of discipline in the country’s media industry, the state minister said, adding: “There is no question of monitoring or controlling media. We don’t support it and don’t want to do so. But, simultaneously, I agree to your demand of bringing discipline in the online news portals”.

He also agreed to the demand of journalists that extending support and giving incentive to the registered news portals are needed to promote responsible journalism.

Pointing that many flashy, false and disinformation campaigns are carried out by unregistered news portals, Arafat said it is a good thing that all professional journalists said that it (spreading disinformation) hurts them and demanded to bring discipline in the media industry.

“We want to ensure full freedom of press and promote all of their activities without monitoring or controlling as we believe that it is a part of the spirit of our Liberation War.” he added.

Putting emphasize on making a partnership between the government and the media to prevent the spread of disinformation and rumours, Arafat said the present government sincerely believes that there is no alternative to role of mass media and freedom of expression to advance the democracy and take Bangladesh to its expected height.

ONAB president Mollah M Amzad Hossain, vice-presidents Latiful Bari Hamim and Soumitra Deb, joint secretaries Siddiqur Rahman and Ashraful Kabir Asif and executive members Nazrul Islam Mithu, Touhidul Islam Mintu, Rafiqul Bashar, Hamid Md Jasim, Mohsin Hossain, Ayon Ahmed and Khokon Kumar Roy.

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