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Channels, newspapers to require approval for newsportals

Television channels, radios and newspapers will need government approval to run their online news portals in the country. The cabinet has approved a draft amendment to the National Online Media Policy 2017 with a provision for a separate registration criteria for different media during a meeting held on Monday.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting and endorsed the National Online Media Policy 2017 (Amendment 2020).
Sheikh Hasina joined the virtual meeting from her official residence Ganabhaban while her cabinet colleagues got connected from the Secretariat.  Nine chapters of the previous policy have been overhauled with five new chapters being added to the policy, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said in a media briefing after the meeting.
He said, “If the print and online content of newspapers are the same, then they won’t need approval. If they bring variation (in content) in the online version, they will require approval.””TV channels and radio stations will also need approval to run their online portals,” Khandker Anwarul added.
The Cabinet secretary also said previously there was no clear guideline over registration qualifications and disqualifications of online news portals, registration fee, determination of the authorities to set the registration fee, running news portals 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. There is a provision in the existing policy to form a commission for regulating online media, the Cabinet secretary also said.In response to a question, he said that the Information Ministry would set an authority to give the permission of operating the online newsportals since the commission is not formulated.
The cabinet also finally approved a draft of the “Narcotics (Amendment) Act, 2020” keeping a provision of holding the trial of drug related cases in competent courts instead of tribunals. Besides, it also gave nod in principle to the draft
of the Medical College (Governing Bodies) (Repeal), Act 2020.
The Cabinet granted a proposal to repeal the Cabinet’s decision taken on January 2, 2012 regarding approval in the principle of the draft of “Sonadia Deep Seaport Authority ACT, 2012.”It also endorsed 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.

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