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Bangladesh braces up to keep tabs on online media

NEW DELHI: All online media in Bangladesh will have to register with a National Broadcasting Commission to be formed under the National Broadcast Act before launching operations, under a new decision of the country’s cabinet.

The format of the Commission is yet to be drafted, but National Inline Mass Media Guideline has been approved.

Under the draft drawn up recently by the prime minister Sheikh Hasina-led Cabinet, newspapers and TV channels registered under the 1993 Press and Publications Act will not require approval from the Commission for their online outlets, but will have to notify the regulator before the launch of their services.

Action will be taken suo moto by the Broadcasting Commission against online broadcasters, if it appears that they have violated the code of conduct and discipline. The Commission is also empowered to take punitive actions against an online broadcaster if any content of broadcast poses a threat to security, territorial integrity, peace, public order and unity of the country.

The Commission is further authorized to take actions against the broadcasters for disseminating vulgar, false and malicious stuff and contents against the spirit of the War of Liberation and distorts national history and heritage.

Section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology Act, 2006 (ICT Act) already criminalises the offences which the Broadcasting Commission seeks to penalise.

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