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An HC bench of justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah passed the order after hearing a supplementary petition following the suicide of a 21-year-old woman reportedly because of a wave of defamatory news coverage in the media, especially in online news portals.

Advocate Rashida Chowdhury Nilu and Zarin Rahman stood for the petitioner while deputy attorney general Nauroz Mohammad Russel Chowdhury represented the state.

Following the court order, advocate Rashida told newspersons that a legal notice was served to the authorities concerned on 5 May seeking steps to enact a code of ethics for the news media.

The notice was served to the secretary to the information and broadcasting ministry, BTRC chairman and Bangladesh Press Council chairman but no response was received as yet. Later, advocate Zarin Rahman and Rashida Chowdhury Nilu filed writ petition.

According to the writ, a case has recently been filed under section 306 over instigation to suicide following the recovery of the body of a 21-year old woman. The way the media, especially the online news portals covered the incident was unacceptable. But the BTRC and Bangladesh Press Council did not take any step in this regard, said the petition.

Besides, the BTRC is unable to take any step against unauthorised news portals. So registration is needed for those news portals, the petitioner said.

Earlier, on 16 August, the High Court issued a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain as to why directives should not be given to shut down the unauthorised news portals.

The HC also sought to know why the directives should not be given to take steps in forming a ‘Broadcasting Commission’ as per the National Broadcasting Policy-2014.

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