Monday, January 29, 2007

Editors vow to defy media gagging rule

Editors of national newspapers, news agencies and television news channels, and senior journalists categorically told Adviser for Law and Information Barrister Mainul Hosein that they will not abide by the restrictions imposed on the media by the emergency rules.

The editors and senior journalists asked the government to immediately rescind the part of the emergency powers rules that have slammed restrictions on the print and electronic media since 25 January 2007.

The editors and journalist were up in arms against the rules in a meeting with Mainul on January 28 and asked for immediate withdrawal of the media restrictions.

During the meeting, Adviser Mainul Hosein however said the interim government did not introduce any rule or order curb press freedom, as the media and the people are the source of this government's power.

"I have explained to them [editors] that the emergency has a framework according to which we have the power but did not introduce any law curtailing press freedom," he told reporters emerging out of the meeting with the editors and senior journalists.

"The constitution itself states that the freedom of newspapers and the media can be suspended. The recent promulgation of the rules only reminds us of that fact," he said.

The editor’s delegation explained that the restrictive rules have given rise to fear and panic among journalists and staff members of the media.

In the meeting, columnist and eminent journalist ABM Musa said, "A fissure has emerged in the relationship between the government and the newspaper. After reading the law, it seems that the caretaker government no more trust the press. It has damaged the confidence that had developed over the period."

Reminding the newsmen of the chief adviser's address to the nation, Mainul said, "The order was not promulgated with the intention of curtailing press freedom."

"We are playing the role of watchdog. Our rights should not be revoked," the angry editors told the senior government officials. #

BDNews24, UNB and BSS agencies reports