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8 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 8 February, 2018 06:47:48 PM
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Media can publish reports based on draft audit docs

Say minister, editor, academic as they slam BTRC comments
Staff Reporter
Media can publish reports based on draft audit docs

Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mostafa Jabbar, Bangla daily the Samakal Editor Golam Sarwar and immediate past Chief Information Commissioner Dr M Golam Rahman find nothing wrong in publishing news reports based on draft audit documents.

Their observation came when The Independent brought to their notice a BTRC (Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission) rejoinder on a news report.  The report titled “Robi makes mess-up of balance sheet: 2nd largest mobile operator evades Tk 1,490cr in taxes over 18 years, says draft audit” was published in The Independent on January 16, 2018.

The report unveiled that mobile operator Robi resorted to malpractice while using spectrum, deliberately lowered its number of subscribers hiding the real figures in documents, and even manufactured balance sheets to avoid government taxes.

In the rejoinder, the BTRC said, “It should also be understood that it is not a professional practice to quote from a draft audit report in a newspaper. The referred audit report is a confidential document and cannot be reproduced in part or full without written permission from the Commission.”

Contacted for reaction on Tuesday, Minister Mostafa Jabbar said he finds nothing wrong in the report.

“I don’t see any problem with the report rather I appreciate the initiative of the newspaper as that’s its job to put focus on irregularities,” he said.  

“As per the constitution, only classified documents related to the country’s security cannot be published for the interest of the country,” added Minister Jabbar.

“Only the information ministry can classify documents as secrets, not the BTRC,” went on the minister.

Editor of Bangla daily the Samakal Golam Sarwar said, “The language the BTRC has used is unprecedented and the commission cannot say that a draft audit report cannot be reproduced without written permission from the commission.”

Sarwar, also the president of Editors’ Council, added that it is very common to publish any document of a company, which may be confidential for that particular company, for the sake of public interest.

Dr M Golam Rahman, the immediate past chief commissioner of Information Commission, said, “Any reporter can make a report on the basis of a draft audit if it has public interest.”

Rahman, also a former professor of Dhaka University’s journalism department, said it is unacceptable if the BTRC says ‘it is not a professional practice to quote from a draft audit report in a newspaper’.

 

Related News:

Robi makes mess-up of balance sheet (16-01-2018)

Robi under NBR fire (08-02-2018)

BTRC rejoinder on Robi's scam and our reply (08-02-2018)

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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