Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud today said two proposed laws – ‘Broadcast Act’ and the Mass Media Employees Act – will give legal protection to the broadcast journalists and workers.
“The new initiative of the government is giving benefits to the broadcast media too,” he said while addressing the inaugural session of the second conference of Broadcast Journalist Centre at TSC auditorium of Dhaka University here.
Speaking as the chief guest, Hasan said those involved in broadcast journalism must have “job protection”.
“We will try our best to send the proposed Mass Media Employees Act to the cabinet soon and place the bill at the next session of parliament,” he said.
Once the proposed Mass Media Employees Act is finalised, the information minister said, it would be possible to give legal protection of the jobs of the broadcast journalists. “We need your all-out cooperation in this regard,” he added.
He said the proposed Broadcasting Act was sent to the Law Ministry one and a half years ago, and the ministry has recently started its vetting on it.
“We hope that the Law Ministry will send the proposed act back to us soon after its vetting,” he added.
Hasan, also the Awami League joint general secretary, urged the broadcast media owners to be more aware of the jobs of the media workers.
“A broadcast journalist has been working at a media house in the last 10 years. One day, the media personnel comes to know that he/she is no more in service. And, it is contrary to the democratic and fundamental rights, and it is not acceptable at all,” he said.
The information minister said he hopes that such incidents will not take place in media once the two proposed laws come into effect.
He recalled that the country’s private broadcast sector, including private TVs and radios, started its journey in the hands of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and it had flourished in the last 12 years.
But, Hasan said, discipline is yet to be brought in the country’s broadcast media sector, particularly in televisions.
About the digitalization system of the cable TV operators across the country, the information minister said, “If the cable television operators want, it is possible to digitalize the cable television system within maximum a year.”
After the digitalization, the new cable operators will get licenses and they will be recognized as the digitalized channel providers, the minister added.
Talking about the growth and sustainability of the local media, Dr Hasan Mahmud said the Information Ministry has taken new and quick steps to this end.
He said earlier the advertisement of the local goods was telecasted on the foreign channels but now the advertisement of the local commodities are not broadcast on the foreign channels.
Legally, none of the local advertisements can be aired on the foreign media and the government is strictly maintaining this rule, the minister added.
Press Secretary to the Prime Minister Ihsanul Karim, Acting British High Commissioner to Dhaka Javed Patel and Broadcast Journalist Center (BJC) Advisor and Ekattor Television channel Managing Director Mozammel Haq Babu also spoke at the conference.
BJC President Rezwanul Haq Raza chaired the programme while its Member Secretary Shakil Ahmed moderated the conference.