Bangladesh bans two pvt TV channels for spreading 'malice'

Bangladesh today halted broadcast of two right-wing television channels for allegedly provoking violence and spreading "hatred", hours after unrest gripped the capital following a radical group's demand for a tougher blasphemy law.

The two channels -- Diganta Television and Islamic TV -- are known to be pro-Jamaat-e-Islami.

Authorities have accused the two channels of airing "provocative commentaries" in their live Dhaka siege" programme of Hefazat-e-Islam group.

"They provoked violence spreading hatred and rumours," information minister Hasanul Haq Inu told a press conference at his secretariat office.

"The media enjoyed maximum freedom during the incumbent government but unfortunately the Diganta and another one or two TV channels showed extreme irresponsibility, committed severe crimes by provoking violence through spreading malice and rumours", he said.

Asked if the two channels would face a permanent ban, Inu replied in the negative but said an investigation was underway the result of which would decide the fate of the channels.

The press conference came as authorities overnight stopped broadcast of the channels, after violence erupted over the Hefazat's demonstrations when they aired live the radical group's activities with their own "provocative commentaries".

The minister also blasted the radical group asking the newsmen if their activities proved they could be "custodians of Islam" and added that their 13-point demand which calls for enactment of a blasphemy law was redundant.

"There is no necessity of floating afresh any 13-point demand to protect Islam... Bangladesh's constitution contains not a single word that goes against the Islam and not only the present government, no regime in the past took any step against Islam," he said.

Inu said even if any atheist was there on an individual level in Bangladesh, "they don't have the capacity to pose slightest threats to Islam or any other religion".

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