Bangladesh scraps 10 ‘ghost’ newspapers

The government has scrapped the declarations of nine Bangla-language newspapers and an English daily due to an extensive gap in publication.

This means that the Gono Awaaz, Daily Jonosheba, Dhaka Prokash, Jatir Kontho, Kisan, Ei Desh Ei Din, Purbo Alo, Shomoyer Pata, Reporter and The Financial Daily can no longer be published or distributed.

The decision was signed by a Dhaka magistrate on Sept 8, according to a government notice issued on Tuesday.

The declarations were dismissed due to violations of section 9 (1) and 9 (3) (a) of the Printing Presses and Publications (Declaration and Registration) Act 1973, which says that the declaration of a daily newspaper will be scrapped if they do not publish a new issue for three months.

Minister of Information and Broadcasting Hasan Mahmud said last month the government would move to close newspapers that were not published regularly.

“These are ghost newspapers. They don’t pay wages to their workers and they’re involved in all manner of scams. Their notoriety tarnishes the public reputation of journalists. So, we are taking action to exorcise these apparitions.”

The minister had previously said the readership numbers newspapers write in their ledgers ‘have no relation to reality’.

The distribution of many newspapers cratered last year amid the coronavirus pandemic and many others shut down. Even then, some newspapers had inflated their readership numbers to get advertising money, Mahmud said.