Online policy on card to tackle fake news: Law Minister

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Dhaka, April 06: Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq today said the government is working to formulate an online policy to tackle publicity and publication of fake news.“We have also formulated the Digital Security Act, formed the cyber court and the special cell to tackle rumors and taken initiatives to bring the online news portals under registration process to ensure accountability,” he said.

The minister said these while addressing a symposium titled ‘Fake News & Hate Speech, Causes & Consequences: How It subverts our Democratic Systems’ as chief guest at Cosmos Centre in the capital’s Malibagh in Dhaka.

Organized by Cosmos Foundation, the symposium was also addressed by Dan Shefet, president, Association for Accountability and Internet Democracy (AAID), an expert authority on European and IT Law.

The law minister said BTRC, ICT Division, police and different intelligence agencies are working to stop publicity and publication of fake news, adding, “But it is not possible to accomplish this by the government only.”

“The mainstream media has an important role to play in this regard. They have to prepare and reach objective reports to their readers within the quickest possible time so that the readers or audience do not approach social media sites. The media will also have to come out of the trend of avoiding the truth,” Anisul further said.

The law minister emphasized on developing new technology to identify fake news, saying, “It is appropriate to tackle technology with technology.”

Cosmos Foundation Chairman Enayetullah Khan delivered the welcome speech at the symposium, while Principal Research Fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), National University of Singapore, Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury chaired the session.