Cabinet clears draft Broadcast Law, 2018

DHAKA, Oct 15, 2018 : The cabinet today approved in principle the draft of “The Broadcast Law, 2018” aimed at bringing discipline in broadcasting through formation of a commission.

“The aim of enacting the act is to mainly bring discipline in broadcasting,” Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said while briefing reporters after the cabinet meeting held at Bangladesh Secretariat with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

He said licenses will be required for broadcasting and there will have a commission for it.

The cabinet secretary said if anybody continues broadcast despite being disqualified by the court for running it for perverted mentality and bankrupt, he or she will have to suffer maximum seven years jail or pay fine of Taka 5 crore or both the punishment.

Alam said the cabinet also okayed in principle “The Mass Media Employees (services condition) Law, 2018” with a provision for ensuring wage board for the employees of all media, including television channels.

The cabinet secretary said under the proposed Broadcast Law, if anybody continues to broadcast despite being declared disqualified, he or she will have to pay fine of Tk one lakh for every day.

He said in the proposed law, a seven-member broadcast commission will be constituted and a provision has been kept to form a search committee to appoint the commission members.

The president will give approval for formation of the commission with a chairman and six members including a woman member after the search committee’s recommendations in this regard.

About the work of the commission, the cabinet secretary said the commission will provide license to persons or organisations to bring dynamism in broadcast industry, raise quality and efficiency of its activities and maintain discipline.

Besides the broadcast license, Alam said, the commission will also give license for broadcast machineries and there will have a lone authority of the commission in this regard.

“But the commission will have to take prior permission from the government in case of providing any license in this regard,” he said.

The cabinet secretary said the license will be revoked if it is handed over without the permission of the commission.

He said a provision has been kept for three to five years imprisonment or Tk 5 crore penalty if any distorted and misleading information, picture, video or other contents are broadcast or presented and emergency message of the government is not broadcast.

The cabinet secretary said the Broadcast Law, 2018 is a new one which is going to be framed following consultation with all stakeholders.

“The law has been placed before the cabinet to bring discipline in broadcast media including online media,” he said.

As per the law, he said, the commission will have to dispose of any complaint to be placed against any media within 30 days after receiving it.

The Commission will have authority to cancel or suspend the license of any broadcast media on ground of seven disqualifications.

About the Mass Media Employees (Services Conditions) Law, 2018, the cabinet secretary said the Wage Board will be applicable for the employees of all the media, including television channels as per the law.

According to the proposed law, he said, the working hours for media employees will be 36 hours in a week instead of 48 hours, while the casual leave will be 15 days instead of 10 days annually and the earned leave will be 100 days instead of 60 days.

Besides, the festival leave will be 10 days in a year, the recreation leave will be one month after every three years, and the maternity leave will be six months in place of the existing eight weeks, Alam said.

If anyone or organisation violates the provisions of the law, he or she will be fined Tk 50,000 to Tk five lakh.

Alam said the cabinet also gave the final approval to the draft of “The Cost and Management Accounts Law, 2018” as well as endorsed in principle the draft of “The Plant Variety Preservation Law, 2018” and “The Bangladesh Rehabilitation Council Law, 2018”.

The cabinet secretary said the draft of “The National Innovation and Intellectual Property Policy, 2018” got the cabinet’s nod today.

He said the cabinet approved “An agreement between Bangladesh and Kuwait on cooperation in field of culture and arts” with retrospective effect.

Alam said the cabinet endorsed a proposal for declaration of October 6 as the National Birth Registration Day and inclusion of the matter in the “kha” serial of the circular issued by the Cabinet Division to observe the day.

He said a proposal for raising the allowance of the army members who received gallantry awards for their operations in different parts of the country including the Chittagong Hill Tracts was also approved by the cabinet.