Cable operators suspend broadcast of foreign TV channels
Cable operators have suspended the broadcast of foreign TV channels that air ads in between programmes in line with the government’s ‘clean feed’ policy.
The move came in response to a government directive on Friday, said SM Anwar Parvez, the founder president of Cable Operators Association of Bangladesh or COAB.
The directive stipulates that foreign channels can only stream in Bangladesh without airing advertisements (clean feed).
“A deadline was set for Sep 30. It was stated that foreign channels without clean feeds cannot be aired in Bangladesh,” Parvez told bdnews24.com.
“Foreign channels contain ads to some extent, and mobile courts have been deployed already [to enforce the law]. That’s why the Bangladeshi channels are on air, while the foreign ones are not.”
The directive has been implemented in Dhaka and other regions of the country, according to Nizam Uddin Masud, former secretary general of COAB and managing director of Chattogram Multi Channel Limited or CMCL.
In early September, Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud announced that foreign channels that fail to comply with the clean feed policy will not be allowed to air in the country after Sep 30.
The minister warned that the law would be enforced countrywide otherwise.
On the final day of the deadline, Mahmud mentioned that mobile courts will be deployed around the country to ensure everyone follows the directive.
The cable operators said they stopped airing the foreign channels as it is not possible for them to cut out the commercials if the channel authorities do not provide them with clean feeds.
Anwar Parvez said, “More than 500,000 people are involved in the cable operating sector. The industry is nearing an end. But all these channels are being aired on other platforms, including OTT. If the broadcasting is transferred to another sector, the operators will be left with nothing.”
“We can keep the industry alive If the government is considerate. We want a level playing field for everyone. If we cable operators can’t air foreign channels but others can, it would be discrimination.”