June 7, 2022
DHAKA – The parliamentary standing committee on information and broadcasting ministry was yesterday given 60 more days to scrutinise the much-debated Mass Media Employees (Services Conditions) Bill 2022.
Hasanul Huq Inu, chairman of the committee, sought the time in parliament, which unanimously approved it.
On March 28, Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud placed the bill and it was sent to the parliamentary standing committee for scrutiny.
According to sources at the parliament secretariat, the standing committee has not yet sat for a meeting.
Various journalist organisations and owners’ associations, Transparency International Bangladesh have seriously opposed various sections of the proposed law.
The Editors’ Council (Sampadak Parishad) has said the space for independent media will shrink further if the proposed bill is passed by parliament.
In a statement on April 19, the Editors’ Council said, “The newspaper industry is going through trying times, still reeling from the effects of the pandemic. Many daily newspapers at home and abroad have either started curtailing their print editions, or stopped their print circulation altogether.”
Upon analysis of the proposed law, the council observed that 37 of its 54 provisions are not journalist-friendly.
It said the proposed law would bring the media industry and mass media employees under further control of the bureaucracy in the name of protection.
Once the new law is passed, jobs of media employees will no longer be regulated under the labour law.
If any individual or organisation violates its provisions, they will be fined or face imprisonment.