Online Versions of Newspapers, TV News Portals: Separate registration made mandatory

From now on, a newspaper will need registration to run its online version if contents in the portal and the print edition are different.

Licensed television and radio channels will also require the registration to publish their news online.

The cabinet approved the draft National Online Media Policy, 2017 (Amendment 2020) yesterday at a virtual meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair, bringing some amendments and keeping the provision.

The PM joined the meeting from her Gono Bhaban residence while her cabinet colleagues were connected from the secretariat.

“If contents of the print and online versions of a newspaper are the same, they won’t need approval [registration]. If newspapers bring variation [to the contents] in the online version, they will require to get registered,” Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said at a briefing at the secretariat after the meeting.

“Newspapers are usually doing this [changing contents in the online version from the printed one],” he said.

“Televisions and radios will also have to get registered if they want to run their online portals going beyond their ‘own media character’,” he said.

The cabinet secretary said there was no clear guideline on the registration criteria for such online news portals, their registration fees, running news portals by licensed television channels and radio, IPTV and Internet Radio in the previous policy. 

“So, the draft amendment of the policy was placed at the cabinet meeting, incorporating these issues,” he said.

Noting that there is a provision in the existing policy to form a commission for regulating online media, the cabinet secretary said the information ministry would choose an authority in this regard until the formation of the commission.

He said amendments were brought in nine sections of the existing online policy while five new sections were added to the draft of the National Online Media Policy, 2017 (amendment 2020).

Replying to a query, he said, “The licensed television channels and radios would have to take prior permission or get registered to operate their online news portals as those are not entitled to run news portals as per their license.”


The cabinet cleared a proposal on celebrating August 5 every year as the birthday of Shaheed Captain Sheikh Kamal, the eldest son of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, at the state-level and include the day in the Ka Serial (list) of a gazette notification issued by the Cabinet Division.

The cabinet yesterday also gave its final nod to the draft Narcotics Control (Amendment) Bill, 2020, dropping a provision for forming a separate narcotic control tribunal to pave the way for competent courts to try drug-related cases and reduce the backlog of such cases.

Besides, it approved in principle the draft of Medical College (Governing Bodies) (Repeal) Bill, 2020.

It also granted a proposal to repeal the cabinet’s decision taken on January 2, 2012 approving in principle the draft of Sonadia Deep Seaport Authority Bill 2012.

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