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BANGALDESH: Media men slam ministry for poor BTV standards

The Ministry of Information yesterday came under sharp criticism from media people for deterioration of quality of programmes on state-run Bangladesh Television (BTV)

The Daily Star
Thursday, July 22, 2004

The Ministry of Information yesterday came under sharp criticism from media people for deterioration of quality of programmes on state-run Bangladesh Television (BTV).

Journalists specifically complained about the falling standard of news programmes with wrong pronunciation and lack of entertaining drama serials.

Requesting comment from Information Minister M Shamsul Islam at a ministerial press briefing, a journalist said, "The BTV has failed to compete with private TV channels and losing its popularity day by day."

The minister assured newspersons that all necessary steps would be taken to improve the quality of news and other programmes on the BTV.

He said a national survey would be conducted soon through questionnaires to adjudge the quality, problems and programme demands of the state-owned TV channel.

Replying a question, Shamsul said the government is contemplating to enact a policy to restrain satellite TV channels transmitting programmes, which is undesirable in the context of the country's social norms and religious values.

"Information ministry officials are working on the issue to control satellite channels, which air obscene programmes," he added.

Some journalists alleged that a number of satellite channels, including some Indian ones, are transmitting late night programmes contrary to social and religious values.

"The sky is open and it is difficult to control," the information minister commented.

The government is considering piracy check in films and tightening film censorship rules. Although the piracy issue falls under the jurisdiction cultural affairs ministry, both ministries are working together to resolve the issue, he said.

On another question, the minister said the government would allow more TV channels and radio stations in private sector.

The government may also allow radio channels for information on traffic situation in the capital, he added.

On the recent killing of journalist Humayun Kabir Balu in Khulna, the information minister said the government provided security for Balu as per his desire but later on he discontinued police protection.

"The government has asked all DC's and SPs (deputy commissioners and superintendents of police) to provide security if any journalist asks for it," he told media people.

The minister said police had so far arrested 11 people in connection with the Balu killing and the charge sheet would be filed as soon as the investigation is completed.

Among others, Information Secretary AMM Nasir Uddin, Principal Information Office Khandaker Manirul Alam, Director General of BTV AKM Mustafizur Rahman, Director General of Bangladesh Betar Jafar Ahmed Chowdhury, were present at the press conference.

Asia Institute