An independent broadcast commission has been approved by the government of Bangladesh as part of a draft national broadcasting policy document.
It is proposed that the commission oversee TV and radio programmes and approve or reject broadcasting licences. According to the draft, the broadcasters will have to air government-approved programmes of “national interest”, and programmes of the President and the Prime Minister, it was reported in Bangladesh’s Daily Star.
But the meaning of “independent” is in question as the policy sets out that the head and members of the commission would all be appointed by the head of state, the President of Bangladesh. However the candidates would selected by a committee comprising representatives from journalism, academia and the NGO sector, according to the draft.
The country’s ministry of information has approved the finalised draft, which also prohibits broadcasting any programme that infringes privacy “unjustly, unfairly and unwarrantedly”.
Professor AJM Shafiul Alam Bhuiyan, chair of the department of Television and Film Studies at Dhaka University and a member of the draft policy formulation committee, said: “One can lodge complaint with the commission if privacy is infringed. However, private information of a person will not be considered as private if it has public interest.”
In the meantime, the Daily Star also reported yesterday that the head of government, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (pictured above) was said to be unhappy that the draft had been finalised without her consultation. According to meeting sources at the weekly cabinet meeting, she told Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu that he could have consulted her before finalising the draft on Sunday.