Dhaka : The Bangladesh government is considering a law to stop “yellow journalism”, Information Minister Abul Kalam Azad has informed the country’s parliament.
“Land grabbers and state wealth looters are becoming editors of newspapers to use journalist community to safeguard their wealth. This trend is increasing gradually,” the minister was quoted as saying by The Daily Star Thursday.
Newspapers and television and radio channels that are making false and misleading news to tarnish image of ministers, lawmakers, the government and the country are in fact doing “yellow journalism”, he said.
The government is currently prosecuting Mahmudur Rahman, acting editor of Amar Desh, on grounds of sedition.
It also cancelled the licence of a private TV channel last month.
Rahman was a lawmaker and a minister in the government of Begum Khaleda Zia (2001-06).
The minister was responding to queries from Moshtaque Ahmed Ruhi from the treasury benches on whether the information ministry would move to make it mandatory that an individual must have 15 years’ experience in journalism to become an editor of a newspaper.
The lawmaker also asked whether the ministry would move to investigate and cancel appointments of those editors who have no such experience in journalism.
Azad said there was no specific qualification for an individual to be an editor under The Printing Presses and Publications (Declaration and Registration) Act, 1973.
He told Ruhi that the government “believes in the freedom of press” and added that the Press Council was working to take actions against “false news”.
Since the East Pakistan era, the media in Bangladesh has been battling governments and opposing curbs.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said at a function Wednesday that 16 journalists had been killed during Zia’s regime.