Information Minister Hasan Mahmud today said online editions of newspapers will be registered on a priority basis.
The government will also take necessary steps to pay all arrears to newspapers in regard to advertisements and supplements, the minister said after a meeting with the Sampadak Parishad (Editors’ Council) at his office at the secretariat.
The Editors’ Council is a platform of editors of different national dailies.
At the meeting, the editors requested Hasan Mahmud to take immediate measures for registering online editions of newspapers and to repay dues owed by the government to newspapers.
The information minister said it was part of regular meetings held with the council.
“Today we have specially discussed how newspapers can register their online editions soon,” he said.
The information ministry also thinks that there is no need for much enquiry to register the online editions of newspapers that are regularly published especially major dailies, Hasan Mahmud said.
“The newspapers which are being published have already gone through investigation. Therefore, registration of online editions of newspapers will be taken on priority basis.”
About arrears related to advertisement and supplements, Mahmud said there are many newspaper bills stuck in various ministries amounting to several hundred crores of taka.
“Discussions are going on about this so that the bills are paid soon. The information ministry will issue reminder letters in this regard, because the cabinet division had earlier urged all ministries and departments to release the arrears,” he said.
In line with that directive, the information ministry had paid some of the dues but the amount was negligible compared to the outstanding bill and that’s why another reminder letter will be issued, said the information minister.
Naem Nizam, general secretary of the Sampadak Parishad and also editor of Bangladesh Protidin, said at the meeting they discussed about resolving the crisis that media faces right now.
They also discussed the timeline of registering online editions of mainstream newspapers following the new national online media policy.
“The information minister also assured us of a speedy solution. Secondly, mass media around the world is now facing this challenge. Bangladesh is no exception. The information minister said that he will try and help solve this crisis. He said there was no alternative to state cooperation for the advancement of the media.”
Matiur Rahman, editor of Prothom Alo, Khandaker Muniruzzaman, acting editor of Sangbad, Imdadul Haque Milon, editor of Kaler Kantho, Enamul Haque Chowdhury, editor of The Daily Sun, Shyamal Dutta, editor of Bhorer Kagoj, Mustafiz Shafi, acting editor of Samakal and Hanif Mahmud, editor of Banik Barta were also present at the meeting.
Information Secretary Kamrun Nahar was also present at the meeting.