Govt approval mandatory for running online news portals

Newspapers, television channels and radio stations will need to be registered for running their online news portals as per the draft amendment of online media policy that was approved at the Cabinet meeting on Monday. The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, endorsed the National Online Media Policy 2017 (Amendment 2020) incorporating some new provisions.
Sheikh Hasina joined the virtual meeting through a videoconference from her official residence Ganobhaban while other cabinet members joined it from the Secretariat.
“If the print and online content of newspapers are the same, then they won’t need approval (registration). If they bring variation (to contents) in the online versions, they will require approval,” said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam at a press briefing after the meeting.
“The television and radio channels will also have to be registered to run their online portals going beyond their own media,” he said
He said there was no clear guideline over registration qualifications and disqualifications of online news portal, registration fee, determination of the authorities to fix the registration fee, running news portal by licensed television channels and radio, IPTV and Internet Radio.
“So, the draft amendment of the policy was placed at the Cabinet meeting incorporating these issues,” he said.
Noting that there is a provision in the existing policy to form a commission for regulating online media, the Cabinet Secretary said the Information Ministry will determine an authority in this regard until the formation of a commission.
Sheikh Kamal’s birthday celebration
The Cabinet gave the final nod to the draft of the Narcotics Control (Amendment) Bill 2020 dropping a provision of formation of separate narcotic control tribunals to pave the way for competent courts to try drug-related cases and reduce the backlog of such cases.
Besides, the Cabinet approved in principle the draft of the Medical College (Governing Bodies) (Repeal) Bill 2020.
It also granted a proposal to repeal the Cabinet’s decision taken on January 2, 2012, approving in principle the draft of Sonadia Deep Seaport Authority Bill 2012.
Moreover, the Cabinet cleared a proposal to celebrate August 5 every year as the birthday of Shaheed Captain Sheikh Kamal, the eldest son of the Father of the Nation, at the state level and include the day in the Ka Serial (list) of the gazette notification issued by the Cabinet Division.