Media mauled in JS for 'fake news' |
Ministers and ruling BNP lawmakers yesterday in parliament launched a blistering attack on the media, accusing it of tarnishing the government's image by running what they called “fake news” and demanded actions against those responsible.
Speaker Jamiruddin Sircar, who was presiding over the sitting, did not object to the free-styled speeches of the lawmakers. The senior ministers and lawmakers also welcomed the speeches by thumping desks in presence of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.
Responding to the lawmakers' demand to enact a law and strengthen the press council against what they called "yellow journalism", the speaker said in the past journalists used to feel insulted after being admonished by the press council. "They used to become alert," he said.
State Minister for Housing and Public Works Alamgir Kabir, who allegedly assaulted a journalist of the daily Janakantha at his office on November 20, started it all while making a statement on the issue.
Denying the allegation, he said the incident was "a drama staged ahead of the opposition's grand rally to undermine the government".
Criticising the daily Janakantha bitterly, he said, "The newspaper is acting against the country and is engaged in character assassination of the honest, patriotic and principled politicians. It is in favour of the criminals, and dishonest and irresponsible persons."
He pointed his finger to Awami League General Secretary Abdul Jalil and said he is one of those who did not have wealth but has now become the owner of a bank. "The Janakantha supports this kind of criminal politicians," Kabir said.
State Minister for LGRD and Cooperatives Ziaul Haque Zia on a point of order said some newspapers that have started during this BNP government are now acting against the BNP through yellow journalism.
BNP lawmaker Manzur Quader demanded enacting of law against the media, saying, "There is no strong mechanism to rein in the yellow journalism."
"The press council does not have enough power to compel any newspaper to obey its decision," he added.
BNP lawmaker Wadud Bhuiyan on a point of order said some newspapers, including the Janakantha, are engaged in conspiracy against the government and the country. "We are being repressed by them, so enact a law against them," he urged.
Replying to the lawmakers' points of order, the speaker suggested them going to the press council and filing of defamation case for justice.