Bangladesh media may face curbs
Apr 18, 2007 - 11:43:54 AM

Dhaka, April 18 - Curbs on the media in Bangladesh may finally be imposed, 13 weeks after a national emergency came into force in the country.

In a letter by the principal information officer - to all editors Tuesday, the media has been accused of publishing/telecasting 'misinformative reports' and of 'causing confusion'. It has also been told that 'the government has been flexible and tolerant in implementing the provisions of the Emergency Powers Act, 2007'.

The PIO heads the Press Information Department - and is the government's chief spokesperson.

The Daily Star newspaper said the PID's advice to journalists was 'strange'.

The letter signed by PIO Iftekhar Hossain stated: 'Recently we have noticed that some of the media are publishing or broadcasting dishonest and unprofessional political statements, satirical sketches, cartoons, features, etc, which are creating confusion among the people.

'You are requested to be more vigilant to ensure that the mass media do not provide any room for activities, propaganda or reports that are unnecessarily harassing or misinformative about anyone.'

He said it had also been noticed that some newspapers were publishing motivated and exaggerated reports about government officials, businessmen, professionals, intellectuals, and politicians in an effort to create confusion among the people.

'A few of the news media are spreading intentional misinformation about people of different classes and professions as a strategy for illegally extorting money, which is counterproductive to healthy, constructive and responsible journalism,' Hossain said.

The letter also stated: 'The mass media's role in carrying out the government's ongoing multifaceted reform programmes has been praised by all quarters. Because of this positive role, the government is always proactive in maintaining the freedom of the electronic and print media in spite of the country being under a state of emergency.'

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