The High Court Monday issued a rule questioning why inactivity to introduce an effective and efficient ethical code of conduct for media according to subsection 2 of section 11 in Press Council Act, 1974 should not be considered illegal.
The court also issued a rule on why direction will not be given to create an ethical code of conduct for maintaining professionalism of journalists, news agencies, newspapers.
Bench of justice Md Mojibur Rahman Mia and Justice Kamrul Hossain Molla issued the rule during a virtual hearing on a writ petition filed in this regard.
The court also questioned why direction will not be given to take legal action for closing unlicensed and unregistered online news portals and to register those that are in consideration.
In the rule the court also asked why direction will not be given to take proper steps to form a ‘Broadcasting commission’ according to the National Broadcast Policy-2014.
The Information Secretary, Chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) and Chairman of Bangladesh Press Council have been asked to submit a reply to the rule within seven days.
Lawyer Rashida Chowdhury Nilu and Zarin Rahman presented the petitioner’s side during the hearing while Deputy Attorney General Nowroz Md Russel Chowdhury presented the state side.
On May 5, two lawyers of the Supreme Court Rashida Chowdhury Nilu and Zarin Rahman sent a legal notice to the authority for introducing ethical code for publishing news on broadcast media.
According to the notice, in a recent incident of recovering the dead body of a 21-year-old college student a case of incitement to suicide was filed under section 306. But some media and specially some online news portals published news on this in an unacceptable way and BTRC and Press Council didn’t take any steps against them.
In these circumstances, the need to implement an ethical code of conduct for publishing news and actions against unregistered news portals have become necessary, said the notice.
As the authorities didn’t reply to the notice a writ petition was with the High Court.