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Drafted OTT regulation in Bangladesh prohibits broadcasting news, talk-shows except for defined contents

The information and broadcasting ministry has finalised a draft of the OTT (Over-The-Top) regulation prohibiting the broadcasting of news or talk-shows, except for the defined contents on the OTT platforms, which was submitted to the High Court today for its decision.

According to the definition stated in the drafted regulation, the OTT means one kind of media service which broadcasts different entertainment programmes, drama, cinema, documentary, fiction, non-fiction, sports, docufiction, infotainment, advertisement, and video on demand to the audience through internet or equivalent technology inside Bangladesh or live broadcasting of permitted television channels’ unchanged contents (except for news and talk-show).

The drafted regulation said only entertaining programmes, advertisements, etc except for defined contents can be broadcast, but news and talk-show cannot be run on the OTT platforms in any manner.

The banned contents mean the data or information which are against the spirit of the liberation war; damaging communal harmony; creating threats to the state discipline and its unitary form, and contradictory to the practicing laws; and domestic culture and social values, the draft of the OTT regulation said.

The draft of the OTT regulation titled, “Over-The-Top (OTT) Content Based Service Providing and Conduct Regulation-2021”, was placed before the HC today through Deputy Attorney General Tushar Kanti Roy in compliance with its earlier directive.

At the same time today, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) submitted a separate draft on “the Regulation for Digital and Social Media Platforms, 2021” through its lawyer Khandker Reza-E-Raquib to the HC during hearing a writ petition filed over this issue.

The HC bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Razik-Al-Jalil received the drafts and asked the information and broadcasting ministry and BTRC to inform the updates over the regulations before this court and fixed October 19 for passing further order on this issue.

Writ petitioner and Supreme Court lawyer Md Tanvir Ahmed told The Daily Star that the information ministry has drafted the OTT regulation prohibiting the publishing and broadcasting of news or talk-shows except for the defined contents on digital platforms, which may be passed as a law by the parliament. The Daily Star

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