Alleging that the government is trying to put the National Broadcasting Policy (NBP) in place in a bid to gag the media, BNP on Tuesday demanded the ‘black rule’ be annulled forthwith.
“The questionable current cabinet which is there by prolonging its tenure through a farcical election has approved the National Broadcasting Policy… It’s mainly a broadcasting control and suppression policy,“ said BNP senior leader Abdul Moyeen Khan.
Addressing a press conference, he also said the government with an evil motive is trying to establish its absolute control over the media by keeping a provision of punishment for the violation of the ‘dangerous black policy’.
“There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that the black rule has been made to check the criticism of this isolated government’s misdeeds and failures and block the speeches and news of all those socio-political organizations and professionals who are not with the government. We condemn it and demand the black rule, formulated with a heinous intention, be cancelled immediately.”
BNP arranged the emergency press conference at its chairperson’s Gulshan office to express its formal reaction to the policy approved by the cabinet on Monday.
Dr Moyeen Khan, also a BNP standing committee member, read out a written statement at the press conference, while party’s another standing committee member MK Anwar and vice chairman Abdullah Al Noman were present.
He urged the leaders and activists of the BNP-led 20-party alliance, their associate bodies and all the democratic forces to be vocal from their respective position in ensuring the people’s freedom of speech and lodge a protest against the draft policy.
Mentioning that a provision has been kept in the ‘so-called’ policy of constitution of a Broadcasting Commission thorough a search committee, Moyeen Khan said the commission will be another government puppet one like the Election Commission and the Anti Corruption Commission.
He also feared that the commission which is given unlimited power and authority to control the media will be used as a dangerous weapon of snatching press freedom and making those as government controlled propaganda machinery.
The BNP leader also alleged that through putting restriction in the policy on airing any image or speech that may tarnish the image of law enforcers, the government is encouraging the cops who are indulging in killings, extortions, abductions, enforced disappearances and other serious offences. “It’ll endanger the public life and security further.”
He also claimed the government through the draft policy will also control the social network and various websites which have emerged as alternative media. “We also strongly protest and condemn it.”
“Awami League doesn’t believe in people’s basic rights, freedom of expression and media freedom, Moyeen said adding that the ruling party had also formulated many laws to gag the media and shut down many media outlets in the past.
He claimed BNP always worked for ensuring the freedom of speech and media freedom by revoking all the black laws formulated by Awami League.
Replying to a question, MK Anwar said they will also annul the National Broadcasting Policy, 2014 and all other black laws to ensure media freedom if BNP is voted to power.
Asked whether they will announce any program protesting the draft policy, he said this issue will get importance in their upcoming anti-government action programs.
H urged the media men to launch a strong movement to force the government to cancel the policy.
BNP demands scrapping of NBP