Friday, June 24, 2011

Bangladeshi TV channels blocked in India

Indian government is continuing an unwritten ban on allowing Bangladeshi television channels from entering their domestic cable network, thus depriving millions of Bangla speaking population in that country from watching Bangladeshi programs, especially drama and music videos, which are considered to be top favourite to India's Bangali [Bangla speaking] population. On the other hand, Bangladesh has adopted a very liberal policy in allowing foreign television channels, including most of the Indian channels [even some regional language channels] and have not only allowed them in Bangladeshi cable network, but also, each month Indian channels are earning significant amount of revenue, both by selling advertisements as well as subscription to Bangladeshi entrepreneurs and households.
According to a recent statistics availed by a team of Weekly Blitz, Indian channels are earning millions of dollars every year from Bangladeshi cable operators. Below is the chart of monthly revenue earned by the Indian channels from Bangladesh:
Name of the Channel
Monthly Revenue from Subscription
Star Plus
US$ 195,000
Star Movies
US$ 118,000
Zee Studio
US$ 94,000
Zee TV
US$ 67,000
US$ 123,000
Set Max [Part of SONY]
US$ 72,000
US$ 61,000
Zee Cinema
US$ 95,000
Star Sports
US$ 70,000
US$ 5,000
Star Jalsha
US$ 17,000
Zee Premier
US$ 39,000
Zee Action
US$ 29,000
Zee Café
US$ 19,000
Zee Bangla
US$ 17,000
US$ 6,000
US$ 6,000
TARA Music
US$ 6,000
Doordarshan Bangla
US$ 000,00
US$ 23,000
Star World
US$ 23,000
Bangladesh also freely allows more than 180 regional and international channels on country's domestic cable network, which includes HBO, ESPN, NGC, Discovery, BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera, NDTV, DW, Fox, VOA, France24, MGM, TVC, TNT, Cartoon Network, RAI etc. India though allows most of the international channels within its domestic cable network; it continues to stop Bangladeshi channels from entering the same network, for reason unknown.
It may be mentioned here that, currently there are several Bangladeshi channels, which are continuing broadcast mainly via Telstar-10 satellite, while some are also using other satellites. The Bangladeshi channels on satellite are: BTV-World, BTV-Sangshad, Channel-I, ATN-Bangla, ATN-News, Diganta TV, NTV, Boishakhi TV, Bangla Vision, RTV, ETV, DESH TV, Mohona TV, Independent TV, Maasranga TV, My TV, GTV, Channel 9, Shomoy TV, Bijoy TV etc.
Bangla drama, soap opera and music videos, especially folk songs are extremely popular amongst the Bangla speaking population in India. Some Indian traders are trading in audio and video CDs of Bangla drama, soap opera and music videos, which have high demand in India.
Commenting on the current ban on Bangladeshi channels from entering Indian cable network, an Indian journalist on condition of anonymity told Weekly Blitz, Indian government fears that Bangladeshi TV channels may contain anti-Indian propaganda as well as instigative messages to various separatist groups inside India.
"We all want to see Bangladeshi TV channels, but we fear such channels may contain anti-Indian propaganda", the source said.
On the other hand, an owner of a Bangladeshi TV channels said, "We never allow any negative propaganda against India or any foreign nation. Bangladeshi channels are already available on major cable networks in United States, Europe and the Middle East. We never heard any such complaint of any Bangladeshi channel airing anti-Indian campaign. This must be a lame excuse of the Indian authorities for stopping Bangladeshi channels from reaching the Indian viewers."
Commenting on the existing ban on Bangladeshi TV channels from entering Indian cable network, eminent researcher of Sufi music as well as popular Sufi singer, Fakir Shabuddin said, "As far as folk and Sufi songs are concerned, Indian listeners are definitely interested in such songs from Bangladesh. Whenever we go abroad for shows, we hear requests from expatriate Indians in foreign countries for singing Bangla Sufi songs. As a singer, I would humbly request the Indian government to allow Bangladeshi channels in reaching millions of Bangla speaking viewers in that country."
Rahman Mustafiz, popular news reporter in Bangladesh said, "None of the Bangladeshi TV channels have any anti-Indian agenda. Authorities in New Delhi should not unnecessarily continue ban on Bangladeshi channels, just on the basis of mere speculations or doubts."
Eminent Bangladeshi music director Milton Khandekar said, "As we are already watching Indian channels in Bangladesh, we also have the equal right of showing our channels to the viewers in India. As an individual, I do believe that, India, being the largest democracy in the world will withdraw such unkind decision on Bangladeshi TV channels."