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EU delegate meets information minister

Visiting delegation of the European Union (EU) on Wednesday met Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud at his secretariat office in the city.

Three members of the delegation, Riccardo Chelleri, Dimitra Ioannou and Cristina Dos Ramos Alves, met the information minister.

While talking to reporters after the meeting, Dr Hasan said no discussions regarding politics were held during the meeting. They wanted to know about the role of the ministry in the country’s mass media, he added.

“We’ve said that the mass media in Bangladesh is mainly private. Bangladesh Television and 35 private TV channels are on air. There are also 1,250 newspapers, hundreds of online news portals, FM and community radios and all are private except Bangladesh Betar,” said Dr Hasan, also Awami League joint general secretary.

He said discussions were held about the responsibilities of social platforms from which rumours are spread, resulting in violence.

“You all know that the European Union has amended the law at the beginning of the year, saying every social media platform must be registered in Europe,” he added.

He said the social platforms, including facebook, Twitter and YouTube have been asked for registration as per the law of Bangladesh. But it has not happened till now, he added.

Even, the minister said, when they (social media) are asked to remove a rumor or controversial post, they delay and the rate of removal is 10 percent.

Dr Hasan said the polls will be held like European countries where the existing government acts as the poll-time government.

“I informed them that the elections will be held in Bangladesh as per the constitution. There is no power of the government except routine work during the polls. All organisations involved in the election process would have to work under the Election Commission,” he added.

He said no discussion was held over the caretaker government. In fact, no one has a headache over the caretaker government. It is the only headache of the BNP, he said.

Besides, he said, the delegation came here to oversee the polls, not to bring the BNP to the polls.

“But, I told them we want the participation of all political parties, including the BNP in the next general elections,” said Dr Hasan.