Bangladesh Media Landscape by Robert
1 Bangladesh Media and Telecoms Landscape Guide May 2012 If you wish to suggest any updates or amendments to this document, please contact Robert Powell on [email protected] [Type text] 2 Introduction Bangladesh is a flat and low-lying country that occasionally suffers from devastating tidal surges and floods.
It is also one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The scale of human suffering caused by a combination of high winds, tidal surges and heavy rainstorms is sometimes immense.
In 2009, Cyclone Ailia caused a tidal surge that flooded low-lying coastal areas and left about 500,000 homeless. 80% of Bangladesh consists of flood plain. 75% of the country’s land area is less than 10 metres above sea level. This makes Bangladesh vulnerable to rising sea levels as a result of climate change. Flooding caused by rivers bursting their banks is a big problem in many areas. About 20 million people living in low-lying coastal areas are at risk of being flooded out of their homes by rising water levels and tidal surges.
The capital, Dhaka, has population of about 16 million and is one of the largest cities in the world. But 73% of Bangladesh’s 164 million population still lives in rural areas. Most of the population relies on subsistence farming. Rice is the staple crop and the country’s main source of food. Bangladesh ranked 146 out of 187 states listed in the 2011 UN Human Development Index. According to the World Bank, 81% of the population lives in poverty [Type text] 3 Administrative divisions of Bangladesh Source: http://www. newspecialpictures. om/category/map-2/bangladesh-map/ [Type text] 4 The adult literacy rate was 56% in 2009, according to UNESCO. It estimated that 61% of men could read and write, but only 51% of women. Bangla or Bengali is spoken as a first language by 98% of the population. It is the official language of government Bangla is also spoken in the neighbouring West Bengal State of India, with which Bangladesh has close cultural and historical ties. Bengalis in both countries love their language and rich culture. Poets are national heroes, known to everyone.
Most educated Bangladeshis still regard the city of Kolkata (formerly known as Calcutta), across the border in India, as the cultural capital of Bengal – a region that historically includes West Bengal and Bangladesh. Many Bangladeshi families still have strong links to West Bengal, having left part of their family there when they fled clashes between Hindus and Muslims during the partition of India in 1947. However, at a political level many Bangladeshis feel ambivalent about India. The intentions of this larger and more and more powerful neighbour are widely distrusted.
Several local languages are spoken in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in South-eastern Bangladesh and in the extreme north of the country, where the influence of India’s neighbouring Assam region is pronounced. About 300,000 people in the troubled Chittagong Hill Tracts speak Chakma. The main international language spoken is English. This is a legacy of nearly two centuries of British colonial rule. [Type text] 5 Bangladesh achieved independence from British colonial rule as part of the Islamic state of Pakistan in 1947.
The territory was then known as East Pakistan, but it was physically separated from the rest of Pakistan by India. The teaching of English declined following independence from Pakistan in 1971 as Bangla was promoted for nationalist reasons. However, English continues to be widely used in government, business and the media. It is also widely spoken among the educated elite. English is now making a comeback. Many Bangladeshis regard fluency in the language as vital for getting well-paid jobs both at home and overseas. About 90% of Bangladeshis are Sunni Muslim. A further 9% are Hindu.
There are small minorities of Christians and Buddhists. Traditionally most Bangladeshis have defined themselves as ‘Bengalis first and Muslims second’. However, Islamic fundamentalism has been on the rise since the early 1990s. Bangladesh split away from Pakistan after a successful armed uprising in 1971, which was backed by the Indian Air Force. This is known in Bangladesh as the War of Liberation. Language and culture was a key factor in the liberation struggle. Bangladeshi nationalists advocated the use of Bangla as an official language instead of Urdu, the official language of Pakistan.
Nationalism, democracy, secularism and socialism were the four pillars of Bangladesh’s 1972 Constitution. However, in 1988 Islam was made the state religion. [Type text] 6 Post-independence politics have been marred by a bitter feud between the two main political dynasties in Bangladesh. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh, served as the country’s first president until his assassination by military officers in1975. He was the leader of Awami League, founded in 1949. His daughter, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, took over the party leadership after his death.
She has been Prime Minister and leader of the government since 2009. A rival political dynasty was founded by General Ziaur Rahman, a military hero of the 1971 revolt against Pakistan. Ziaur Rahman, who is widely known as “General Zia,” became the de facto military ruler of Bangladesh in 1975. He took the helm after several months of instability triggered by the killing of Mujibur Rahman. Ziaur Rahman appointed some of Mujibur Rahman’s assassins to senior government positions. This move created a rift between the families of the two men and has poisoned relations between them ever since.
Ziaur Rahman assumed the title of president in 1977 and ruled Bangladesh until his own assassination in 1981. He founded the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the country’s other main political movement in 1978. The party is now led by Ziaur Rahman’s widow, Khaleda Zia. She served as prime minister from 1991 to 1996 and again from 2001 to 2006. In early 2012, with the Awami League back in power, she was leader of the opposition. The personal rivalry and animosity between Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia is intense and has coloured much of Bangladeshi politics over the past 20 years.
Both women are in their late 60s. [Type text] 7 Since independence, Bangladesh has either been ruled by the Awami League, the BNP or a military-led administration. The army’s most recent intervention in politics took place in 2007. It formed a caretaker administration after the previous BNP-led government failed to hold fresh elections by the end of its parliamentary mandate. A military-led interim government organised fresh elections in 2008. The Awami League scored a landslide victory, winning 49% of the popular vote and 263 of the 300 seats in parliament.
It returned to power in early 2009 with Sheikh Hasina as Prime Minister. This was her second term as head of government. She had earlier ruled Bangladesh from 1996 to 2001. The ideological differences between the Awami League and the BNP are insignificant, but the animosity between their respective leaders is intense and extremely personal. Sheikh Hasina blames General Zia and the BNP for being close to her father’s murderers, for removing secularism from the constitution, and for rehabilitating collaborationist forces such as Jamaat-e-Islami, which formerly opposed independence from Pakistan.
The BNP and Khaleda Zia suggest in turn that Sheikh Hasina and the Awami League are insufficiently Muslim, and that they are in league with Hindu-dominated India. Khaleda Zia filed corruption cases against Sheikh Hasina and her associates while she was in power. Sheikh Hasina has since retaliated in kind. The next parliamentary elections are due in 2013. Corruption is widespread at all levels of government in Bangladesh, especially in the police. [Type text] 8 The country was rated 120 out of 183 countries listed in Transparency International’s 2011Corruption Perception Index with a rating of 2. out of 10. Bangladesh once occupied the bottom rung of the index, but its performance has improved in recent years. Every few years, Bangladesh suffers from devastating floods, most of which are triggered by cyclonic storms coming ashore from the Bay of Bengal. Only 5% of the world’s cyclonic storms form in the Bay of Bengal, but these cause 85% of the loss of life and property inflicted by all cyclones on the planet. In 1991, a severe cyclone killed nearly 140,000 Bangladeshis and made up to 10 million homeless. It sent a six-metre high storm surge of sea water rushing inland.
Following that disaster, international donors helped Bangladesh to build a network of cyclone shelters along the coast and set up an early warning system for residents in vulnerable areas. Regular TV and radio bulletins are issued as cyclones reach key stages of development in the Bay of Bengal. The government also passes warning messages down to local government officials. At moments of extreme danger, sirens mounted on the cyclone shelters are sounded. In 2009 the government used the mobile phone network to create an additional channel for distributing cyclone warning messages.
It began to broadcast SMS cyclone warning messages to all mobile phone owners living in danger zones as danger approached, urging them to urgently seek safety. Casualties have been greatly reduced as a result of these precautions, but powerful storms continue to inflict heavy damage [Type text] 9 Earthquakes are rare, but when they do occur they can be extremely powerful. Only seven earthquakes of over 8. 5 magnitude have ever been recorded in the world, but two of those affected Bangladesh–in 1887 and again in 1950. The country sits astride three major fault lines. In September 2011 a 6. magnitude earthquake with its epicentre in Sikkim to the north rocked buildings in the capital Dhaka and elsewhere for up to two minutes. According to Professor Humayun Akhter, Head of the Earth Observatory at Dhaka University, a 7. 5 magnitude quake with an epicentre 50km from Dhaka would wreak havoc in the capital. He estimated in September 2011 that such a quake would destroy 30% of all buildings in the city, killing 200,000 people and trapping a further 300,000 in the debris of collapsed buildings. Famine has been a recurring phenomenon in Bangladesh for centuries.
However, there has not been a serious hunger crisis in the country since 1974, when over one million people died. New varieties of rice, better farming techniques and improved early warning systems have boosted agricultural output. In most years Bangladesh manages to achieve self-sufficiency in food. Although most of Bangladesh is peaceful, a regional conflict in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) near the Burmese border in the Southeast has been simmering for the past 40 years. This pits indigenous people from the region against settlers from other parts of Bangladesh and the army.
The government signed a peace agreement with the hill tribes in 1997, granting limited autonomy to the CHT. [Type text] 10 However, the promise of self-rule for the CHT was never fulfilled and sporadic violence continues to plague the region. Reports of human rights violations in the CHT are commonplace. In late 2011, there were 28,000 registered refugees from Myanmar (Burma) living in two government-run camps in the South eastern district of Cox’s Bazar. Nearly all of the refugees were Muslims from the Rohingya ethnic group. They represented the remnants of an influx of 250,000 refugees from Myanmar in 1991.
The Bangladeshi government estimates that a further 200,000 to 300,000 Burmese live in Bangladesh without formal refugee status. In October 2011 the Burmese government announced that it would take the Rohingya refugees back. The Bangladeshi authorities were keen for them to leave, but by early 2012 there had been no reports of any forced repatriations. The army has not attempted to intervene in politics since it returned Bangladesh to elected civilian government in 2008. However, in 2010 more than 70 people, including civilians and army officers, were killed during a mutiny by the Bangladesh Rifles’ (BDR) border force.
More than 2,100 BDR personnel were subsequently detained. According to media reports, more than 60 of these detainees died in custody. The army and the police have a poor human rights record. The Rapid Action Battalion, an elite anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit set up in 2004, has a particularly bad reputation. It is able to act in secrecy and with impunity. [Type text] 11 According to Amnesty International, the Rapid Action Batallion has been implicated in the killing of at least 700 people since its formation. It has also been accused of torturing detainees.
In 2010, according to human rights organisations, law enforcement officials were responsible for 127 deaths, 101 of which were attributed to ‘crossfire’. The Rapid Action Battalion accounted for 65 of the crossfire killings, while regular police were responsible for a further 21. Combined security units of Rapid Action Battalion and police agents were responsible for a further 12 deaths. [Type text] 12 Bangladesh at a glance Population Main Language Other languages widely used in broadcasting Gross National Income per capita Adult Literacy (15+) $624 (World Bank 2012) 56% (UNESCO 2009) 164 million (World Bank 2010) Bangla
English Mobile phones Mobile phone penetration (lines per 100 inhabitants) Mobile network coverage (population) Internet users 87. 9 million (BTRC February 2012) 94% (urban) and 83% (rural) (NMS 2011) 98% (BTRC 2011) 5. 5 million (Internetworldstats. com December 2011) Internet subscribers Ranking in UN Human Development Index 2011 Ranking in Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index 2011/12 3. 1 million (BRTC February 2012) 146 (out of 179) 129 (out of 179) [Type text] 13 Media overview Television is the most popular source of news and entertainment in urban areas of Bangladesh.
It is also rapidly gaining ground in the countryside. However, radio still commands large audiences in the rural areas, where 73% of Bangladeshis live. Many rural families have no access to electricity and are too poor to afford a TV set. Radio ownership has fallen steadily in recent years and so have radio audiences. The 2011 Nielsen Media and Demographic Survey, conducted by the global media marketing group AC Nielsen, found that radio listening had declined to 15% of the population in 2011 from 36% in 1999. It also found that over the same 12-year period access to television in urban areas increased from 69% to 91%.
In rural areas, the proportion of the population watching television increased even more dramatically from 24% to 67%. The 2011 Nielsen Survey indicated that Bangladeshis who still listen to radio are increasingly tuning in on their mobile phones rather than a traditional radio set. It showed that 73% of radio listeners tuned into stations on their mobile phones, but only 34% still listened to programmes on a radio set. This change in listening habitsreflects the fact that young urban Bangladeshis frequently listen to music broadcast by FM stations through earphones attached to their mobile handset. Type text] 14 However, one in five Bangladeshis do not watch TV or listen to radio at all. The Nielsen survey indicated that 20% of the population has no access to any media whatsoever. It found that 27% of females were unable to watch TV, listen to radio or reach any other media on a regular basis. 13% of males were in the same situation. The government began to liberalise broadcasting in the late 1990s. Unusually, it allowed private TV stations to operate before licencing private radio stations. Bangladesh’s first private satellite channel, ATN Bangla, began broadcasting on satellite in 1997.
But the first commercial radio station, Radio Foorti, only went on air in 2006. The government-run radio network Bangladesh Betar and state-run Bangladesh Television (BTV) have both lost audiences to private sector competitors in the towns and cities. However, state radio and TV still dominate the air waves at a national level. They are still the only broadcasters that can be received easily in large swathes of the countryside, where the majority of Bangladeshis live. Bangladesh Betar and BTV both strongly reflect the views of the government of the day.
Their programming is widely regarded as dull and uninspired compared with that of their private sector competitors. Mass circulation newspapers remain influential, especially in the main towns. The 2011 National Media Survey found that 40% of Bangladeshi men read newspapers at least once a week. The figure for women was much lower at 14%. [Type text] 15 This reflects lower literacy rates amongst women. It also reflects the fact that men tend to control household incomes and that men get out and about much more than the women of the household.
They therefore have more opportunity to buy newspapers. Before the government allowed the first private television stations to go on air in 1997, newspapers were the only source of independent information in Bangladesh. However, the liberalisation of the air waves, the proliferation of mobile phones and the spread of internet access, have dramatically opened up the media landscape since then. Mobile telephone ownership has become widespread in both urban and rural areas following a rapid expansion of the mobile telecoms network in the early years of this century.
The 2011 Nielsen Media and Demographic Survey found that two thirds of all Bangladeshis over the age 15 owned a mobile handset with an active SIM card. The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) said there were 87. 9 million mobile phone subscribers in the country by the end of February 2012. This figure implies that one in two Bangladeshis has a mobile phone. However many handset owners have SIM cards for more than one network, so the actual mobile penetration rate is undoubtedly lower. Mobile phones are mainly used for voice conversations.
Very few handsets support the alphabet of the Bangla language, so the volume of text messaging is quite low. According to the BTRC, the average volume of SMS messages sent in 2011was 30 million per month. [Type text] 16 This is the equivalent of one message for every three phones in use. Nevertheless, mobile phones are already being used as a channel to broadcast information. Since 2009 the government has issued cyclone warnings by SMS. Members of the public can also dial a short code on any of Bangladesh’s three mobile phone networks to hear a recording of the latest BBC Bangla news headlines. These are updated every hour.
Internet use is growing fast from a low base, but access to the internet is still restricted well-off people living in the main towns. According to the website www. internetworldstats. com there were 5. 5 million internet users in Bangladesh at the end of 2011 – equivalent to 3. 5% of the country’s population. The BTRC reported in February 2012 that Bangladesh had 3. 1 million internet subscribers, of whom nearly 3. 0 million went online via the mobile telecoms network. The website www. socialbakers. com which measures global internet usage, said more than 2. 5 million Bangladeshis had signed up to Facebook by February 2012.
The most popular Bangladeshi news website is that of Prothom Alo (First Light), the country’s top-sellling newspaper www. prothom-alo. com The independent and widely respected news website www. bdnews24. com follows close behind it. News about Bangladesh is often faster to break online than on local TV or radio. However, TV and radio are still widely regarded as the most authoritative sources of news and information. [Type text] 17 A 2008 study by the Institute of Governances Studies at BRAC University, entitled The State of Governance in Bangladesh, found that state and private broadcasters both scored highly on credibility.
News on private TV was rated as authentic by 82% of respondents to the survey, while state-run BTV scored 78%. Public confidence in the state media was noticeably lower in urban areas, where there is generally a greater choice of media. The BRAC University study found that only 68% of urban residents considered government owned TV and radio to be authentic sources of information. However, the credibility rating of state media in the countryside was much higher at 87%. For many Bangladeshis in rural areas, the state radio network Bangladesh Betar is still the main source of news and information.
Bangladesh Betar runs 12 regional radio stations as well as a national radio service. It also runs a special Traffic Channel for Dhaka. Its broadcasts on FM and Medium Wave cover the entire country. Bangladesh’s has only five private commercial radio stations. All of them are based in Dhaka. Their broadcasts on FM are primarily aimed at urban audiences. Only two private radio stations have broad national coverage – Radio Foorti and Radio Today. Both have relay transmitters in several provincial cities. Radio Today also has a network of regional studios which produce some local programming. Type text] 18 Radio Aamar has one relay station in Chittagong, but Metrowave and ABC Radio only broadcast to Dhaka and the surrounding area. The government has so far licensed 14 community radio stations. The first two went on air in 2011. There are plans to establish more than 100 community stations across the country in due course. Private TV stations only distribute their programmes by satellite and cable. Nevertheless, they have come to dominate broadcasting in the towns and cities. Channel-i and ATN Bangla are the most popular private TV channels.
Government-run BTV is the only station that broadcasts free-to-air from terrestrial transmitters. As such it is the only TV station that can been seen by most people with access to television in rural areas. However, BTV’s hold on rural TV viewers is starting to loosen as more and more people in the countryside are switching to satellite television, which allows them to watch private and foreign channels. The largest and most influential Bangla language daily newspaper is Prothom Alo. It sold 437,000 copies per day in early 2011, according to government statistics.
The newspaper’s online version www. prothom-alo. comhasmore than 800,000 readers, according to its editor. Many of these aremembers of the Bangladeshi diaspora living overseas. Prothom Alo’s stable mate, The Daily Star, is the largest circulation English language daily in Bangladesh. It sells over 40,000 copies per day and is influential in the ruling elite. All of Bangladesh’s national newspapers are published in Dhaka. However, dozens of provincial dailies are published in several other cities, including Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi, Sylhet, Barisal, Bogra and Rangpur. [Type text] 9 Most private media outlets are broadly aligned with one of Bangladesh’s two main parties; the Awami League, which is currently in power, or the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP). The private media in Bangladesh is mostly owned by large business conglomerates, such as Transcom, Square Group and the Beximco. These groups have extensive interests in manufacturing industry, trading and financial services as well as the media. There are relatively few genuinely independent media outlets. Many also allow the business interests of their owners to colour their news coverage.
Editors and journalists can face pressure or intimidation for opposing government policies, and reporting on sensitive issues such as corruption, crime, human rights abuses and illegal business practices. Salaries are low, so many journalists are also open to financial inducements to slant their stories in favour of their paymasters or suppress embarrassing information. Threats from political parties, police and military, extremist religious groups, and other powerful individuals, are relatively common. Bangladesh was ranked 129th out of 179 countries listed in the Reporters Sans Frontieres 2011-12 Press Freedom Index http://en. sf. org/press-freedom-index-20112012,1043. html According to The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) www. cpj. org , 12 journalists were murdered in Bangladesh between 1992 and March 2012. Most of their killers escaped prosecution. [Type text] 20 Three quarters of those who died were covering crime and/or corruption stories at the time. Generally speaking, journalists and editors tread carefully, self-censoring themselves to avoid trouble. The 2009 Right to Information (RTI) Act allows for freedom of access to information held by public organisations.
This has improved the potential for investigative journalism, although so far few journalists have taken advantage of it. Libel, sedition and reporting on national security issues all carry the risk of criminal prosecution. Like other Bangladeshi citizens, journalists can be held for up to 90 days without trial under the 1974 Special Powers Act. A code of conduct for newspapers, news agencies and journalists was issued by the Bangladesh Press Council, a statutory body controlled by the government, in 1993. It was amended in 2002. Restrictions on media freedom have often increased during periods of political turmoil.
The authorities have occasionally tried to block access to some websites, citing religious and moral concerns. According to Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) www. rsf. org the government blocked access to the popular social networking site Facebook for nine days in 2010 until it agreed to withdraw cartoons of the Islamic Prophet Mohammed and cartoons of certain Bangladeshi politicians The pro-opposition newspaper Amar Desh was closed for three months in June 2010 after a publishing a report that accused the son of the prime minister of involvement in a corruption scandal. Its editor and main shareholder Mahmudur Rahman was arrested. Type text] 21 Rahman, a former energy adviser of the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP), was released nine months later. Two private TV stations, Channel 1 and Jamuna TV, have also been shut down by the current Awami League government since it came to power in 2008. Jamuna TV, owned by the Jamuna business conglomerate, was banned in November 2009, after 35 days of test transmissions for operating without a licence. Channel 1, whose owner has close links with the BNP, was forced to suspend broadcasting in April 2010after the government accused it of violating unspecified rules.
The station is owned by businessman Giasuddin Al Mamun, who has close ties to the eldest son of opposition leader and former prime minister Minister Khaleda Zia. Wherever television is available, Bangladeshis have come torely on TV rather than radio as their main source of news, information and entertainment. By the end of 2011, there were 19 local TV channels available in Bangladesh, only three of which were controlled by the government. Many Bangladeshis with a satellite dish also watch Indian channels broadcasting in Bangla and Hindi.
The Indian soap operas on Star TV are particularly popular. Over the years, a succession of governments has pledged to turn state TV and radio into independent public service broadcasters, but no convincing move has so far been made in this direction. However, the government has agreed to allow the establishment of a handful of community radio stations. [Type text] 22 The first two community radio stations opened in 2011 and the government has awarded licences to 12 others. All will be operated by local NGOs. Academic facilities for journalism training in Bangladesh are quite good.
The state universities of Dhaka, Jahangirnagar, Jagannath, Chittagong and Rajshahi all offer graduate and post-graduate courses on mass communication and journalism. Some respected private universities, such as BRAC, the Independent University of Bangladesh, Stamford University, and Daffodils also offer courses in journalism and media studies. In 2007 USAID set up the Journalism Training and Research Initiative (JATRI), a professional training centre for investigative journalism. It now forms part of BRAC University’s Institute of Governance Studies. [Type text] 3 Media Groups Many newspapers and radio and TV stations in Bangladesh are owned by business conglomerates with extensive interests in manufacturing industry, trading and financial services as well as the media. The shares of some of these companies are traded on the Dhaka Stock Exchange, but most of them are controlled by rich and politically influential families. The largest and most influential business groups with media interests are: Transcom Groupwww. transcombd. com Transcom owns Prothom Alo, the largest circulation Bangla language newspaper in Bangladesh.
It also owns The Daily Star, the largest and most respected English language daily in the country. Transcom’s broadcasting interests are represented by ABC Radio, a Dhaka-based news and current affairs FM station. Transcom’s media outlets are generally perceived as being politically neutral. The conglomerate was founded as a family-run tea plantation business in 1885. Its non-media business interests include electronics, mobile phones, pharmaceuticals, food and beverages. It owns the Bangladeshi franchises for Pepsi Cola, 7-Up, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut. [Type text] 24 Bashundhara Groupwww. bg. com. d Bashundara Group owns two influential Bangla language daily newspapers; Kaler Kantho and Bangladesh Protidin, and an English language newspaper, The Daily Sun. It also owns the bi-lingual news portal www. BanglaNews24. com – not to be confused with the more popular www. Bdnews24. com The conglomerate’s media outlets are held through a publishing subsidiary called the East West Media Group. Bashundhara Group began life in 1987 as a real estate company. It has since diversified into shopping malls, manufacturing industry and the media. It is a major producer of cement and paper products and bottles and distributes Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG).
The Bashundhara Group website says the conglomerate intends to set up its own TV channel and radio station in due course. The editorial line of the group’s newspapers generally favours the ruling Awami League. Many of their news reports are seen as serving the group’s own business interests. Jamuna Groupwww. jamunagroup-bd. com The Jamuna Group publishes the popular Bangla daily Jugantor and is trying to set up a TV station – Jamuna TV. The TV station started broadcasting in 2009, but was shut down by the government after 35 days for operating without a licence. [Type ext] 25 The Jamuna Group was founded as an industrial manufacturing venture by businessman Nurul Islam in 1974. Today it has interests in electronics, shoe and textile manufacturing, construction and chemicals. The conglomerate also owns Jamuna Future Park, one of Bangladesh’s largest shopping malls. Jamuna diversified into media with the establishment of Jugantor in 2002. Impress Group www. impressgroup. com. bd Impress Group is a textiles, garment manufacturing and pharmaceuticals conglomerate which owns Channel i, one of Bangladesh’s most popular private TV channels.
Its Impress Telefilm subsidiary also produces TV programmes for other Bangladeshi TV channels, such as BTV, ATN and Ekushey TV. Beximco Group www. beximco. net Beximco is one of the largest diversified industrial groups in Bangladesh Its relatively modest media interests include the English language daily The Independent and the Independent TV channel. Beximco’s main business activities include pharmaceuticals, ceramics, textiles, garment manufacturing, real estate, and banking. [Type text] 26 Beximco was founded in the 1970s by two brothers, Ahmed Sohail Fasiur Rahman and Ahmed Salman Fazlur Rahman.
The latter is a close advisor to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed on private sector investment matters. Multi Media Production Company This media group, founded by entrepreneur Mahfuzur Rahman owns two of Bangaldesh’s most popular private TV channels; ATN Bangla and ATN News. ATN Bangla became Bangladesh’s first private TV channel when it started broadcasting by satellite in 1997. Rahman made his initial fortune in the garment manufacturing industry. Diganta Group Diganta Group owns Naya Diganta, a Bangla language daily newspaper, and Diganta TV, a private television channel launched in 2008.
Politically this media group is a strong supporter of the Jamaat-e-Islami Islamic fundamentalist party. Square Group The Square Group is a large industrial conglomerate which launched Bangladesh’s newest TV channel, Maasranga TV, in 2011. It has invested heavily in hiring leading media personalities to run the new station and has spent lavishly on equipping its studios. [Type text] 27 The Square Group, founded by business magnate Samson Chowdhury, also has interests in pharmaceuticals, textiles, food processing and healthcare. [Type text] 28 Radio overview
Radio audiences in Bangladesh have fallen steadily in recent years as people have turned to television instead. The 2011 Nielsen Mediaand Demographics Survey showed that only 15% of the population still listened to the radio once every seven to 10 days, down from 36% in 1995. The same survey indicated that 91% of people in urban areas and 67% of people in rural areas now had access to television. Radio stations in Bangladesh are still largely still owned and controlled by the government. The first private radio station, Radio Foorti, only began broadcasting in 2006.
By early 2012, there were just five privately owned commercial FM stations on air and the community radio movement was in its infancy. The five private commercial radio stations are all based in Dhaka. They are: Radio Foorti Radio Today ABC Radio Radio Aamar Metrowave • • • • • State-owned Bangladesh Betar is the country’s only nationwide radio network. [Type text] 29 It operates a chain of 12 regional radio stations which link up with Dhaka for national news bulletins and other networked programmes, plus a Traffic Channel for commuters in the capital. Bangladesh Betar’s broadcasts on Medium Wave and FM reach all parts of the country.
However, Bangladesh Betar’s news and current affairs coverage is tightly controlled by the government and its programmes are often dull and uninspired compared with those of other broadcasters. Repeated pledges by government leaders to transform Bangladesh Betar from a government mouthpiece into an independent public service broadcaster have so far come to nothing. Reach of radio (% Population) 45 40 35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0 1995 1998 2000 2002 National 2005 Year Urban 2006 2008 Rural 2009 2011 (Source : NMDS 2011) [Type text] 30 Most of the private FM stations transmit music and entertainment programmes aimed at an urban youth audience.
The notable exception is ABC Radio, a talk station which targets a slightly older audience with a strong diet of news and current affairs. ABC Radio is owned by Transcom, the same business group that owns Prothom Alo and The Daily Star, Bangladesh’s leading newspapers in Bangla and English respectively. Radio Foort iand Radio Todaybothhave a network of FM relay transmitters in several provincial cities. This gives them broader national coverage. Radio Today also has studios in eigh provincial cites which produce some local programming. Radio Aamar broadasts in Dhaka and Chittangong. ABC Radio and MetroWave only transmit from Dhaka.
According to the 2011 Nielsen Media and Demographics Survey, Radio Foorti is the most popular FM radio station in Bangladesh, with 47% of the national FM radio audience. It was followed by Radio Today with 28%. The survey found that where listeners have a choice, they regard the private FM stations as being more informative and entertaining than Bangladesh Betar. The government has so far licensed 14 community radio stations. The first two went on air in 2011. [Type text] 31 Although radio ownership has declined in recent years, more and more Bangladeshi radio listeners are tuning into programmes on their mobile phones.
In fact, mobile phones have become the preferred method of accessing radio in Bangladesh, especially for young people on the move in search of music and entertainment. The 2011 Nielsen Survey found that 73% of radio listeners used their mobile phones to tune in to programmes, whereas only 34% listened on a conventional radio set. How Radio Is Accessed (%of listeners) 73 Mobile 34 Radio Others 1 Source: Nielsen Media and Demographics Survey 2011 Several international broadcasters target Bangladesh with broadcasts in Bangla and English.
They attract listeners because Bangladesh Betar is viewed by most people as little more than a crude mouthpiece of the incumbent government. [Type text] 32 BBC Bangla, Voice of America (VOA), Radio Deutsche Welle and All India Radio are all respectedas sources of independent news, but they command relatively small audiences. BBC programmes in Bangla and English are relayed on FM by Bangladesh Betar’s FM 100 station in Dhaka. BBC Bangla programmes are also relayed twice a day by six of the state broadcaster’s regional stations. Some VOA Bangla programmes are relayed by Radio Today and Radio Aamar.
According to the 2011 Nielsen survey, 5% of radio listeners tune in to the BBC, and only 4% to VOA. Radio Deutsche Welle and All India Radio can only be heard on Short Wave. Their audience figures are even lower. Several internet radio stations have been launched in Bangladesh since 2010. These include: www. lemon24. com, www. oniyom. com, www. radio2fun. com, www. radiodhaka. net www. radiogoongoon. com. • • • • • They broadcast popular Bangla songs, and regular news bulletins. However, they only reach relatively affluent members of the educated elite who have access to the internet and Bangladeshis in the diaspora. [Type text] 3 Community radio is only just coming into existence. The first community radio station, RadioLokobetar, began test transmissions in the town of Barguna in Barisal division in June 2011. It is run by the NGO, Mass Line Media Center. In October 2011, a second community station, Radio Padma, started broadcasting in Rajshahi. It is run by another NGO, the Centre for Communication and Development By the end of 2011, the government had issued a total of 14 licences tocommunity radio stations. Two were on air and another four had begun test broadcasts. Each one is being set up and managed by a different civil society organisation.
The Community Radio advocacy movement was started in 1998 by a network of NGOs and like-minded civil society organizations called the Bangladesh NGO Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC). This pressure group argued that community radio would help to reduce poverty, eliminate social exclusion, empower marginalized rural groups and encourage the active participation of disadvantaged sections of the population in development. The government approved the ‘Community Radio Installation, Broadcast and Operation Policy 2008’ (Bangladesh Gazette, 12 March 2008).
The National Regulatory Commission on Broadcasting subsequently proposed that a total of 116 community radio stations be established across the country. [Type text] 34 Community radio stations approved by the government in 2011 Sl. No. Name of radio and Frequency (where available) Krishi Radio, 98. 80MHz Radio Chilmari, 99. 20MHz Lokobetar, 99. 20MHz Name and address of organisation which will run the radio 01 Agriculture Information Service (Ministry of Agriculture), Amtoli, Barguna RDRS Bangladesh, Chilmari, Kurigram 02 03
Mass-line Media Center, Amtoli Hospital Road, (Kathpatti), Barguna Nalta Hospital @ Community Health Foundation, Kaliganj, Sathkhira Landless Distressed Rehabilitation Organization, Sherpur Road, Bogra BRAC Mathar Kapon, Chandnighat, Moulvibazar Sadar Naogaon Human Rights Development Association, Ukilpara, Naogaon Young Power in Social Action (YPSA), Sitakunda, Chittagong Proyas Manobik Unnayan society, Belepukur, Chapainawabgonj Center for Communication and Development (CCD), Monafer More, Rajshahi Srizony Bangladesh, Pabahati, Jhenidha 04 Radio Nalta, 99. 20MHz Radio Mukti, 99. 0MHz Radio Pollikontho, 99. 20MHz Barendro Radio, 99. 20MHz Radio Sagor Giri, 99. 20 MHz Radio Mahananda, 98. 80MHz Radio Padma, 99. 20MHz Radio Jhinuk, 99. 20MHz Radio Bikrampur 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 Environment Council Bangladesh (EC Bangladesh), Dewvogh, Munshiganj Broadcasting Asia of Bangladesh, Koyra, Khulna 13 Radio Sundarban, 98. 80MHz Radio Naf 14 Alliance for Co-operation and Legal Aid Bangladesh (ACLAB), Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar [Type text] 35 Location of authorised community radio stations Source: BNNRC 2011 [Type text] 36 Radio stations Bangladesh Betar www. betar. rg. bd Bangladesh Betar is the state-run radio network. It is the only radio service that reaches the whole of the country. The flagship Home Service is broadcast from the main studios in Dhaka. Bangladesh Betar also operates 12 regional stations in the following cities: Bandarban Barisal Chittagong Comilla Cox’s Bazar Dhaka Khulna Rajshahi Rangamati Rangpur Sylhet Thakurgaon These stations transmit on both FM and Medium Wave In addition, Bangladesh Betar runs the Traffic Channelin Dhaka. This broadcasts traffic updates to commuters in the capital on 88. 8 and 103. 2 FM.
Most Bangladesh Betar programmes are in Bangla, but some, including several daily news bulletins, are in English. [Type text] 37 National news bulletins and other networked programmes are transmitted from Dhaka and relayed by the other centres. Some local language news bulletins and programmes are produced in Chakma, Marma and Tipra for the tribes living in the Chittangong Hill Tracts. These are broadcast by the Bangladesh Betar local stations in Bandarban, Rangamati and Cox’s Bazar. News bulletins are broadcast every hour. Special programmes for farmers are broadcast daily at 06. 5 in the morning and between 18. 05 and 20. 00 at night. Bangladesh Betar also produces an external service. This broadcasts on Short Wave in Bangla, English, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic and Nepali to Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Bangladesh Betar started life in 1939 as a regional station of All India Radio, broadcasting from Dhaka. After the partition of India in 1947, it became Radio Pakistan Dhaka. At independence from Pakistan in 1971 Bangladesh Betar assumed its present identity. Bangladesh Betar relays the BBC World Service in English and BBC Bangla for 12 hours per day on its FM 100 station in Dhaka.
BBC Bangla’s morning and afternoon programmes are also relayed by the Bangladesh Betar local stations in six other cities. Center Dhaka-Ka Dhaka-kha Dhaka-Ga Chittagong [Type text] Frequency (kHz) 693 630 1170 873 Meter 432. 90 476. 19 256. 41 343. 64 Power (kW) 1000 100 20 100 Broadcast Time(Local) 0630-1210 and 14302330 0000-0300, 0630-0745 and 0900-2310 1500-1700 0630-1000 and 12002310 38 1080 Rajshahi 846 Khulna Rangpur Sylhet Barisal Thakurgaon Rangamati Cox’s Bazar Bandarban Comilla 558 1053 963 1287 999 1161 1314 1431 1413 354. 60 537. 63 284. 90 311. 52 233. 10 300. 30 258. 9 228. 31 209. 64 212. 31 100 100 20 20 10 10 10 10 10 10 277. 77 10 0630-1000 and 12002310 0630-1000 and 12002310 0630-1000 and 12002310 0630-1000 and 14002310 0630-1000 and 14002310 1045-1715 1550-2310 1130-1630 1145-1645 1130-1630 1600-2310 Bangladesh Betar Medium Wave transmitters Source: Bangladesh Betar website Center FM100, Dhaka FM, Dhaka FM 88. 8, Traffic Channel FM 90. 0, Traffic Channel FM (Home Service), Dhaka FM, Chittagong FM, Khulna FM, Sylhet FM, Rajshahi FM, Rangpur [Type text] Frequency (MHz) 100. 0 97. 6 88. 8 90. 0 103. 2 105. 5 102. 0 105. 0 104. 0 105. 0 105. Meter 3. 00 3. 07 3. 38 3. 33 2. 9 2. 85 2. 94 2. 86 2. 88 2. 86 2. 86 Power (KW) 3 5 10 10 5 2 1 1 5 1 1 Broadcast Time 1300-1600 0630-1200; 1415-2315 0800-2000 0800-2000 1730-2200 0630-1000; 1900-2310 0630-1000; 1900-2310 0630-1000; 1900-2310 0630-1000; 1900-2310 0630-1000; 1900-2310 0630-1000; 1900-2310 39 FM, Comilla FM, Thakurgoan 101. 2 92. 0 2. 96 3. 26 2 5 0630-1000; 1700-2310 1600-2310 Bangladesh Betar FM broadcasts Source: Bangladesh Betar website Director General (news)- Narayan Chandra Sen Tel: +880 2 8115072 +880 2 8113356 +880 2 8115079 +880 2 8115036 Email:[email protected] et Address: Bangladesh Betar, Agargaon, Dhaka-1207 Radio Foorti www. radiofoorti. fm Radio Foorti is the largest private radio station in Bangladesh. It broadcasts on 88. 0 FM in Dhaka and reaches a large audience in the interior through relay stations in the following seven provincial cities: Barisal Chittagong (98. 4 FM) [Type text] 40 Cox’s Bazar Khulna Mymensingh Rajshahi Sylhet(89. 8 FM) According to the 2011 Nielsen Media and Demographics Survey, Radio Foorti commands a 47% share of the total FM radio audience in Bangladesh. Most of its programming consists of music and entertainment.
The station plays a wide variety of music, ranging from Bengali classics to the latest songs released by top Bangladeshi artists, along with some international tracks. Many programmes are inter-active, relaying phone calls and text messages from listeners. The station first went on in Dhaka in 2006. Since then its FM coverage has progressively been extended to other major cities. Radio Foorti is owned by the MGH Group. This is also has interests in transport, logistics, aviation services, banking and information technology. Chief Executive -Daniel Afzalur Rahman Tel: +880 2 8835747 +880 2 8835748 Email: Daniel. [email protected] m Address: Radio Foorti, Landmark (8 floor), 12-14 Gulshan North C/A, Gulshan-2, Dhaka-1212 th Radio Today 89. 6 FM www. radiotodaybd. fm [Type text] 41 Radio Today is a music and entertainment station that broadcasts on FM from Dhaka and seven other cities across Bangladesh. It claims to reach a potential audience of more than 120 million people across the country. Radio Today plays popular Bangladeshi music. It has subsidiary stations which produce several hours of local programming each day in the following provincial cities: Bogra Chittagong Khulna Sylhet Barisal Cox’s Bazar Mymensingh All broadcast on the same frequency – 89. 6 FM.
Radio Today is owned by Radio Broadcasting FM (Bangladesh) Co. Ltd. , a company controlled by a businessman with strong connections with the opposition Bangladesh National Party (BNP). It first went on air in 2006. [Type text] 42 The station also rebroadcasts two news bulletins per day from Voice of America (VOA) Bangla. Chief News Editor – Rashidul Islam Tel : + 880 2 8829293 Email : [email protected] com Address: Radio Today, Awal Centre (13th and 19th Floors), 34 Kamal Ataturk Avenue, Banani, Dhaka-121 3 Radio Aamarwww. radioaamar. com Radio Aamar is a private radio station that broadcasts round the clock on 88. 4 FM in Dakhaand 101. FM in Chittagong. It carries news, traffic and weather updates, business news, Bangla and English music and phone-in programmes. It also relays 30 minutes of programming from Voice of America (VOA) Banglaevery evening. Radio Aamar began broadcasting in 2007. The station is owned by the Uniwave Broadcasting Co. Ltd [Type text] 43 Chief Executive – Zulfiquer Ahmed Tel: + 880 2 9886800 +880 2 9861133 +880 2 8832989 Address: Uniwave Broadcasting Company Ltd. , Silver Tower (12th Floor), 52 GulshanAvenue, Dhaka ABC Radio FM 89. 2 http://abcradiobd. fm ABC Radio is Bangladesh’s only privately operated news and current affairs radio station.
It is based in Dhaka and covers a potential audience of 40 million people living within 80 km of the capital. ABC Radio is owned by Transcom, the industrial conglomerate which also publishes two of Bangladesh’s leading newspapers; Prothom Alo and The Daily Star. This linkage gives ABC Radio access to the newspapers’ network of more than 240 reporters and correspondents countrywide. ABC radio was launched in 2009 and is on air 24 hours a day. There are news bulletins every hour. According to the 2011 Nielsen Media and Demographic Survey, ABC Radio reaches 13% of all FM radio listeners. [Type text] 44
It can be heard clearly as far south as Comilla and Chandpur, as far north as Tangail and as far west as Faridpur. Head of News – M. Sanaullah Tel: +880 2 8142038 +880 2 8189307-10 Email : [email protected] fm [email protected] fm Address: ABC Radio, 99 Kazi Nazrul Islam Avenue, Dhaka Trade Center, Kawran Bazar, Dhaka MetroWave www. metrowave-bd. com MetroWave is a private music and entertainment radio station based in Dhaka. Under the terms of its broadcasting license, the station is required to relay some government news programmes and speeches by the Prime Minister and President. MetroWave is on air on 1170 Khz Medium Wave from 07. 0 until 10. 30 and again from 12. 00 to 15. 00. Its does not appear to broadcast on FM. Managing Director – Emran Mahmud Tel : + 880 2 9881131 Email : [email protected] com [Type text] 45 Address: MetroWave, Electros house (9th floor), 18 Kamal Araturk avenue, Banani, Dhaka BBC Bangla www. bbc. co. uk/bengali BBC Bangla is the Bengali language service of the BBC. It is aimed at Bengali speakers in both Bangladesh and India. BBC Bangla broadcasts to Bangladesh on Short Wave and FM for two hours per day and online through its website. Programming consists of news, current affairs, sports, entertainment and discussion programmes.
From 2005 to 2010, BBC Bangla broadcast a weekly TV and radio discussion programme called Sanglap (Dialogue)in association with Bangladesh’s Channel i satellite TV station. This popular programme aimed to initiate constructive public debate and encourage greater accountability from government and authority figures. It brought ordinary people face-to-face with influential politicians and business leaders and gives them an opportunity to ask questions about issues that matterto them. Sanglap was broadcast from different locations around Bangladesh and claimed a regular audience of 21 million. Type text] 46 Itsinspired several other private TV stations in Bangladesh to launch similar discussion programmes BBC Bangla is relayed on FM by Bangledesh Betar in Dhaka on its FM 100station. This also relays BBC World Service in English for 10 hours per day. In addition, BBC Bangla is relayed by the Bangladesh Betar local FM stations in: Chittagong(105. 0 FM) Khulna(105. 4 FM) Rajshahi(105. 4 FM) Sylhet(105. 0 FM) Rangpur(105. 4 FM) Comilla(101. 2 FM) Since 2010 BBC Bangla has also offered a dial-in news update service to mobile phone users on Bangladesh’s three largest mobile phone networks.
By dialing the short code 16262 members of the public can listen to a recording of the latest BBC headlines in Bangla at any time of day and leave their own comments if they wish. The news headlines are updated every hour. BBC Bangla has journalists based in Dhaka, Kolkata and Delhi. BBC Dhaka Office Tel: +88 2 9130996 +88 2 9130997 +88 2 9130672 [Type text] 47 Address,: BBC, Dhanshiri Apartments, Flat No. D 602, 35 Indira Road, Tejgaon, Dhaka1215 BBC Bangla Editor – Sabir Mustafa Telephone: +44 20 7557 1840 Email: [email protected] co. k Address: BBC Bangla Service, Bush House, PO Box 76, Strand, LondonWC2B 4PH, UK Voice of America (VOA) www. voanews. com/bangla/news VOA Bangla is the Bengali language service of the US international radio station Voice of America (VOA). It transmits to Bangladesh and India on Short Wave for seven hours per week. In 2009 VOA Bangla said its radio broadcasts to Bangladesh reached 2. 6 million people and that its overall audience, including TV and the internet, was 10 million. VOA Bangla produces a 10-12 minute TV programme every week which is aired by the Bangladeshi private satellite broadcaster NTV.
Two of VOA Bangla’s daily radio news bulletins are relayed on FM in Bangladesh by Radio Today from transmitters in the following cities: Barisal [Type text] 48 Bogra Chittagong Cox’s Bazar Dhaka Khulna Mymensingh Sylhet Radio Aamar also broadcasts a 30-minute segment of VOA Bangla programming at 22. 00 every evening from its transmitters in Dhaka and Chittagong. In addition, Radio Aamar broadcasts VOA Bangla’s one-hour call-in show Hello Washington every Wednesday. VOA Bangla Managing Editor Roquia Haider Email: [email protected] om Address: VOA Bangla Service, 330 Independence Avenue, Washington, DC 20457 [Type text] 49 Television overview Over the past decade television has emerged as the most powerful channel of news and entertainment in Bangladesh. It has displaced radio and newspapers to become the country’s main source of reliable information. The 2011 Nielsen Media and Demographic Survey found that 84% of urban households and 43% of rural households in Bangladesh owned a television set. The same survey showed that 74% of Bangladeshis aged 15 and over watch television at least once every seven to 10 days.
The rise of television has been stimulated by a boom in private TV channels, since ATN Bangla became the first private commercial TV station to receive a license in 1997. Seventeen private TV channels have begun broadcasting to Bangladesh by satellite and cable since then. They generally provide more attractive and entertaining programmes than the state-run Bangladesh Television (BTV) network. [Type text] 50 However, BTV has maintained a strong hold on viewers in rural areas since it is the only TV network that broadcasts free-to-air from terrestrial transmitters.
The 2011 Nielsen survey showed that 83% of TV owners in urban areas have access to private TV channels via satellite or cable, but whereas only 39% of TV owners in the countryside do so. However, more and more rural households with access to some form of electricity supply are acquiring satellite dishes. As a result, BTV’s former monopoly of rural television audiences is being gradually eroded. Satellite TV channels broadcasting from India in Hindi and Bengali are popular for their soap operas, films and sports coverage. ETV Bangla, an Indian satellite channel based in Kolkata,
ZTV, Star Plus, Sony TV, and Zee Cinema are among the most popular Indian entertainment channels. Doordarshan, BBC, CNN, and ETV Bangla, are popular satellite channels for news. TV channels charge the highest rates for advertising between 19. 00 and 23. 00, suggesting that this is also the peak viewing period. Daytime TV audiences mainly consist of housewives watching soap operas. When their menfolk come home from work in the evening, the TV set is often switched over to news and sports channels. There are no dedicated sports channels in Bangladesh, but televised football and cricket matches carried by foreign channels are very popular. Type text] 51 Talk shows have become popular in the past three years, in response to the popularity of the BBC Bangla TV discussion programme BBC Sanglap. This ran from 2005 to 2010 on Channel i. Every TV channel now broadcasts at least one talk show per week and these programmes cause considerable debate nationally. Some TV discussion programmes have been criticised for promoting the views of a particular political party or the channel’s owner, but others are very professionally produced and presented. There are two private TV channels devoted solely to news – ATN News and Shomoy.
Most of the other TV channels broadcast a mix of news, talk shows, reality shows, music shows, dramas, movies and other forms of entertainment. The majority broadcast hourly news bulletins throughout the day and a flagship news show in the evening. Most also air programmes about development issues such as health, agriculture, and education. Islamic TV, however, carries only religious news and discussions. Viewers in the main cities can access more than 70 TV channels by cable. There are hundreds of different cable networks in Bangladesh. Monthly cable subscriptions cost between 150 and 500 Taka, ($2. to $6. 50). They can easily be afforded by a middle-income family. [Type text] 52 The extension of mains power supplies, solar power and the availability of low cost TV sets have substantially increased access to television over the past decade. Rising incomes and the emergence of a large middle class have meanwhile made commercial television, based on the sale of advertising, extremely profitable. Many of Bangladesh’s private TV channels have been set up by the country’s largest industrial conglomerates such as Beximco, Square Group and Impress Group.
Many of these business groups also own newspapers. In early 2012, there were three state-run TV channels and 16 private channels on air in Bangladesh. Government licenses had been granted for a further six private channels. According to the 2011 Nielsen Media and Demographic Survey, ATN-Bangla and Channel-iare the most popular TV channels overall. However, individual programmes on other channels may have higher ratings at certain times of day. The Nielsen survey identified ATN Bangla’s evening news as the most watched TV programme in the country.
It rated NTV as the third most popular station. It has three channels which broadcast a mixture of news, entertainment, reality shows and discussion programmes. People in rural areas without access to satellite connections have no option other than state-run terrestrial channel BTV. [Type text] 53 BTV is Bangladesh’s largest TV station in terms of its studios, staff, equipment and countrywide coverage. It claims that its terrestrial broadcasts cover 95% of the population. BTV’s flagship national channel is broadcast from studios in Dhaka.
It is normally on air for 18 hours a day. BTV’s regional studios in Chittagong produce a small amount of regional news and programming for Southeastern Bangladesh. This replaces national network programming in Chittagong for up to two hours every night. In January 2011 BTV launched a third parliamentary channel, BTV Sangsad. This broadcasts proceedings from parliament and discussion programmes about important national topics. The channel is on air for three hours per day whenever parliament is in session. BTV also runs an international channel, BTV World.
This broadcasts by satellite 24 hours a day to Asia, Australasia and the Middle East. Terrestrial TV channels can easily be taken off air by the authorities – as Ekushey TV discovered to its cost in 2002. Ekushey was shut down for four years by an incoming Bangladesh National Party (BNP) government which perceived the station as being overtly in favour of the opposition Awami League. It only resumed broadcasting on satellite in 2006 Ekushey’s experience has made other TV channels wary of terrestrial broadcasting. [Type text] 54
Unlike radio stations, which are licensed by the Ministry of Information, TV channels in Bangladesh are regulated by the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC). They require a ‘permission to broadcast letter’ from the Ministry of Information, but BTRC issues their license. Television stations Bangladesh Television (BTV) www. btv. gov. bd Bangladesh TV (BTV) is the national state TV network. Its main channel is the most watched TV channel in Bangladesh, largely because it is the only TV channel that can be received without a satellite dish in rural areas.
BTV claims that its transmitter network covers 95% of the population. Its main channel is on air for 18 hours per day from 07. 00 to 01. 00. BTV also operates a small regional television station in the South-eastern port city of Chittagong. This broadcasts up to two hours of local programmes in the evening. In 2004, BTV launched an international satellite channel BTV World. This broadcasts round the clock and can be seen throughout Asia and the Middle East. Its latest venture is a parliamentary channel, BTV Sangsad. [Type text] 55
Launched in January 2011, BTV Sangsad broadcasts for three hours per day whenever parliament is in session. It carries parliamentary debates and discussion programmes on topics of national importance. Most BTV programmes are in Bangla, but some are in English. According to the 2011 Nielsen Media and Demographic Survey, the proportion of TV viewers who tune in to BTV is higher in rural areas (92%) than in urban areas (80%). However, the same survey indicated that BTV’s audience has declined across the board in recent years in the face of competition from private TV channels.
The Nielsen survey ranked Ittyadi, a magazine entertainment programme as BTV’s most popular programme. BTV’s flagship evening news programme in Bangla scores high ratings and its Friday night movies are also very popular. State television started broadcasting in East Pakistan in 1964. BTV was created after Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan in 1971. BTV has transmitters in Dhaka and Chittagong and relay stations in the following locations: Natore Sylhet Khulna Rangpur Mymenshingh Rangamati Noakhali [Type text] 56
Shatkhira Jhenidah Thakurgaon Brahmanbaria Patuakhali Rajshahi Ukhia [Type text] 57 BTV transmitters and relay stations Source: BTV website [Type text] 58 Director General – Kazi Abu Zafar Muhammad Hasan Siddiqi Tel: +880 2 9330131-9 +880 2 9330036-39 Email : [email protected] gov. bd [email protected] net. bd Address: Bangladesh Television, Television Bhaban, Rampura, Dhaka-1219 BTV Chittagong www. btv. gov. bd, BTV’s Chittagong sub-station airs its own, locally produced programmes from 17. 30 to 19. 10 pm every day. This segment of local programming includes a 10-minute regional news bulletin.
The Chittagong studios also produce short dramas and cultural programmes. Their quality is said to have improved since 2010. General Manager BTV Chittagong Tel: +880 31 611751 Email: [email protected] gov. bd Address: BTV, 27, Nasirabad Housing Society, Road No. 3, Chittagong BTV Worldwww. btv. gov. bd, BTV World is the international satellite channel of BTV. It began broadcasting in 2004 and is on air 24 hours a day. [Type text] 59 Most of it the programmes are identical to those of BTV’s domestic service broadcast by terrestrial transmitters. BTV World is broadcast on AsiaSat 3S.
Its footprint extends from the Sea of Japan in the east to Cyprus in the West, and from New Zealand-Australia in the South to Siberia in the North. Director General – Kazi Abu Zafar Mohammad Hassan Siddiqui Tel: +880 2 933 0131-6 +880 2 933 0036-8 Email: [email protected] gov. bd Address: BTV World, TV Bhaban, Rampura, Dhaka-1219 , Sangsad TVwww. btv.