Dozens of foreign television stations in Bangladesh goes black


Cable operators implementing challenging move under country’s ‘clean feed’ policy for foreign channels

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) – Bangladeshi on Friday stopped broadcasting all foreign television channels that failed to fulfill the government’s policy of airing shows without commercial advertisements, according to official sources.

As a result of the rare and challenging move, millions of people cannot watch dozens of popular Indian channels and international news channels, including the BBC World and CNN.

A huge number of Bangladeshis, especially women, are addicted to Indian Bangla and Hindi channels because of long-running series and movies.

Because of the popularity of Indian channels in Bangladesh, multinational companies have been airing commercial advertisements on the channels instead of local ones.

Owners of Bangladeshi television channels expressed concern and demanded foreign operators stop airing commercial advertisements on foreign television channels.

Bangladesh Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud held a meeting Sept. 2 with members of the television owners’ platform, Association of Television Channel Owners (ATCO) and declared that foreign channels would not be allowed to air programs after Sept. 30 unless they have a “clean feed.”

On Friday, authorities implemented the move with the help of cable operators.

A review of stations by Anadolu Agency found all foreign channels operating without commercial advertisements.

SM Anwar Parvez, founder and President of Cable Operators Association of Bangladesh (COAB) told reporters that cable operators have cut off foreign television channels broadcasts that air commercial advertisements between programs.

Bangladeshis, however, expressed mixed reactions to the move.

“This is a good decision for the greater interest of the country’s broadcasting media. For the existence of our local television channels, we can’t allow foreign channels to operate randomly with commercial ads,” Md. Mohinuddin from the capital, Dhaka, told Anadolu Agency.

Others said Bangladesh should pay attention to make quality programs by local television channels so people do not feel the need to watch foreign channels.

“Without ensuring standard and alternative entertainment and news channels, any sudden embargo on foreign channels may create an adverse impact on us,” said Shirin Akhter, a housewife in Dhaka’s Paltan area.

Mahmud, however, on Thursday warned of punitive measures if violations were found. “Mobile courts will be conducted to ensure the move,” he said,

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