Proposed mass media law to curb growth of newspaper industry: NOAB

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The Bangladesh Newspaper Owners Association said in a statement on Sunday that the Mass Media Employees (Conditions of Services) Bill 2022, if passed, would hamper free journalism and freedom of expression. and reduce the growth of the newspaper industry.

NOAB believes the proposed law conflicts with the existing legal system, labor law and the Labor Act 2006 in Bangladesh, the statement read.

The statement, signed by NOAB Chairman AK Azad and ASM Deputy Chairman Shahidullah Khan, also said there was no need for a new law in the name of the Employees Act. mass media, according to a press release.

In 2014, the government announced the newspaper sector as an industry, but so far newspapers do not receive any designated facilities for the industries, he also said.

Following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh, this industry did not receive any assistance from the government after repeated requests and in 2020 the import price of each ton of newsprint was around $500. , which rose to over $1,000.

Furthermore, the digital reality challenges the newspaper industry to attract readers and succeed commercially.

In this critical time for the newspaper industry, the bill is tabled in the Jatiya Sangsad on March 28, 2022.

Already leaders of the Council of Editors, senior journalists and journalists’ unions have issued opinions that 37 of the bill’s 54 articles are contrary to the interests of journalists.

The statement also states that newspapers played an unforgettable role in the struggles for rights and independence of the 1950s to 1970s, while in the 1990s newspapers played an important role in restoring the democratic trend in Bangladeshi politics.

While journalism is a very risky job, the 2018 Digital Security Act has created pressure on journalists’ free thinking.

NOAB said if the proposed law were enacted it would weaken the newspaper industry and also be humiliating for journalists.

The bill talks about establishing a mass media court, although there are labor courts to adjudicate on arrears and disputes of media employees and there is the Press Council of Bangladesh to control newspapers and protect freedom of expression, the association said.

So there is no need for a new law in the name of the Mass Media Employees Act, NOAB said.

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