Govt. curving media by covert policy, control on ad: Bnp

Govt. curving media by covert policy, control on ad: Bnp

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The BNP on Monday alleged the government is controlling the media through a ‘covert media policy’.
“The government is trying to establish its authoritarian rule in the country. They’re putting direct and indirect pressure on the mass media. Even social media has been nakedly regulated by the ICT Act,” said BNP spokesman Asaduzzaman Ripon.
Ripon said the government now determines who will be the guests at TV talk shows, as it restricts appearances by people who speak out on its misdeeds and misrule. “Persons like New Age editor Nurul Kabir are now not invited to TV talk shows. Nurul Kabir himself said in public that he was not invited to talk shows any more.”Speaking at the BNP’s Nayapaltan central office during a press briefing, he further said, “Under the cover of democracy, this government’s control over the media has been manifested in its attitude towards publishing advertisements, defamation cases against editors, and regulating talk shows. In fact, there is no press freedom in the country.”
In the same vein, he alleged newspapers that publish reports on the government’s misdeeds and illegal activities of the ruling party men are being subjected to government hostility.
“As newspaper readers, we are observing that the advertisements from multinational companies have not been published in the Prothom Alo and Daily Star for a number of days. Government advertisements are also not being published in these two major dailies,” he said.
Ripon went on to observe that Prothom Alo and the Daily Star are not getting advertisements from many institutions as they did in the past based on their huge circulation and popularity.
“We think the government is trying to regulate the media by controlling the flow of advertisements,” he asserted.
The BNP leader alleged important news relating to public interest cannot be published in the media due to the government’s covert mass media policy. “We call upon the government to not behave like a dictator.”
He urged the government to shun its ‘hostile policy’ towards the media and reopen all closed newspapers and TV channels including Channel 1, Diganta TV, Islamic TV and daily Amar Desh.
The BNP spokesman also criticised the government for what he called ‘harassment’ of journalists, including Bangladesh Pratidin editor Nayem Nizam, through defamation cases against them.  “Defamation cases are being filed against editors and journalists to obstruct them from carrying out their professional duties. It’s another kind of pressure on the media and an obstacle to the free press.”
He urged the government to strengthen the Press Council to deal with the allegations against editors and journalists.
Ripon blamed Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu for the growing pressure on the media. “The level of suppression on the media and repression against journalists intensified after Inu took charge of the Information Ministry.”- news Desk

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