TI misreads FCTC Article 5.3 to imperil TC Rules fixing process

Tobacco cultivation in Bangladesh

Tobacco Industry (TI) is now misinterpreting the Article 5.3 of Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) regarding the meeting of Law Ministry and tobacco industry officials to jeoparadise TC Rules formulation process in Bangladesh, according to a report published on 25 March, 2014 on the Daily Independent.

Quoting the ‘Tobacco Industry insiders’, the report says that ‘though the WHO guidelines don’t make such meetings with stakeholders prohibited, it requires any meeting with tobacco industry to be held in transparent manner and concern stakeholders to be present.’ But the meeting was not transparent since the concerned ministry officials barely denied holding such meeting when was asked by a group of Anti Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) journalists on the meeting day on 12 March, 2014. Interestingly the meeting was held an hour later of the proposed schedule (at 3.00 pm). Moreover, the meeting did not involve concerned stakeholders since no anti-tobacco representatives were present there; even the members of the Rules Formulation Committee were not invited in the meeting, which is highly suspicious.

Mentioning the ‘industry insider’, the report also says that ‘the guidelines prescribed by FCTC are not mandatory or legally binding on governments as these are recommendations or guidelines only,’ which is  a clear misinterpretation of article 5.3 of FCTC.

Quoting the ‘law ministry insiders’, the report says, “Law ministry insiders said there is no barrier in holding meetings with stakeholders in formulating policies and rules”, which is very unexpected from government officials where Bangladesh was the first signatory of the treaty.

See the detail report:

Inline image 1http://www.theindependentbd.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=209249:policy-formulation-requires-industry-views&catid=110:business-others&Itemid=156

Please be noted that some Media Reports have also been published expressing concern over the meeting  of Law Ministry officials with Tobacco Company’s representatives on ‘Smoking and Tobacco Products Usage (Control) Rules 2014’  held on March 12, 2014 at the conference room of the Law Ministry. A compilation of the media stories attached herewith.

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