History of Bangladesh Press Council
The establishment of the Press Council in Bangladesh as elsewhere followed the realization of the need for an independent authority for safeguarding the freedom of the Press and protecting individuals and institutions from excesses by the mediamen.
While the importance of a free Press in a civilized world cannot be over emphasized the problems of abuse of the Press also cannot be ignored. There is no easy and permanent solution to the problem either. It has, therefore, been necessary to devise a mechanism to ensure that the Press exercise the freedom yet do not go beyond the limits of national and social interest. The Press Council is such a mechanism – a sort of an umpire – to ensure that the rules of the game are followed. the additional charge of the Council is to ensure improvement in the standard of journalism.
The Press Council answers the quest of those who value liberty and seek on the one hand to satisfy the legitimate desire of the people for a more disciplined Press and on the other disapprove arbitrary control by the Government or any other authority possessing coercive power. It also creates avenues for wider appreciation of the obligations that go with Press freedom and consequently make newsmen more faithful to the highest professional standard.
The Press Council act of Bangladesh was passed by the Parliament in the year 1974 with the objective of preserving the freedom of the Press and maintaining and improving the standard of newspapers and news agencies in Bangladesh.
On the 18th day of August 1979 the Press Council was constituted with a Chairman and fourteen other members representing the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists, Council of Editors, association of owners of Newspaper and News Agencies. University Grants Commission, Bangladesh Bar Council, Bangla Academy (National Institution of development and promotion of national language, literature and culture) and the Parliament.
The Press Council of Bangladesh started functioning in October 1980, after the Rules and Regulations necessary to carry out the purposes of the Act were made.
The Code of conduct for the newspapers and news agencies was made in 1993 and it was amended in 2002.
Objectives & Functions
- The object of the Council shall be to preserve the freedom of the Press and to maintain and improve the standard of newspapers and news agencies in Bangladesh.
- The Council may, in furtherance of its object, perform the following functions, namely :-
(a) to help newspapers and news agencies to maintain their freedom ;
(b) to build up a code of conduct for newspapers and news agencies and journalists in accordance with high professional standard ;
(c) to ensure on the part of newspapers and news agencies and journalists the maintenance of a high standard of public taste and to foster a due sense of both the rights and responsibilities of citizenship ;
(d) to encourage the growth of a sense of responsibility and public service among all those engaged in the profession of journalism ;
(e) to keep under review any development likely to restrict the supply and dissemination of information of public interest and importance ;
(f) to keep under review cases of assistance received by any newspaper or news agency in Bangladesh from any foreign source including such cases as are referred to it by the Government or are brought to its notice by any individual, association of persons or any other organisation :
Provided that nothing in this clause shall preclude the Government from dealing with, in any manner it deems fit, any case of assistance received by a newspaper or news agency in Bangladesh from any foreign source ;
(g) to undertake studies and research of national and foreign newspapers, their circulation and impact ;
(h) to provide facilities for proper education and training of persons in the profession of journalism ;
(i) to promote technical or other research;
(j) to promote a proper functional relationship among all classes of persons engaged in the production of publication of newspapers or in the running of news agencies :
Provided that nothing in this clause shall be deemed to confer on the Council any function in regard to disputes to which the industrial Relations ordinance, 1969 (XXIII of 1969), applies;
(k) to do such other acts as may be incidental or conducive to the discharge of the above functions.