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Illegal down linking of Indian TV channels in Bangladesh

At least 68 satellite-based foreign television channels are illegally down-linked in Bangladesh defying existing laws of the land and procedures set by the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission [BTRC]. While Indian government has set very tough policy in allowing down-linking of the signals of Bangladeshi television channels in that country, the Information Ministry in Bangladesh as well as BTRC are seen visibly reluctant in taking similar policies for allowing Bangladeshi cable operators in down-linking signals of the Indian television channels. 
According to sources, currently at least 39 satellite-based foreign television channels are illegally down-linked in Bangladesh, out of which, ninety percent are Indian channels. Indian television channels, which are down-linked illegally in Bangladesh, are: S Sangeet, Z Bangla, Star Plus, SONY, SAT MAX, ZTV, Tara Muzik, Tara News, Star Jalsa, ETV-Bangla, Star World, Z Studio, Life OK, DD Bangla, DD National, DD Sports, Firangi, UTV, Pogo TV, Dabangg, Hungama TV, B4U Music, Enterr10 TV, CVO, 9X, JOO Music, 9X Jalwa, Dhoom Music, Sur Sangeet TV, Aaj Tak, IBN-7, Tez TV, S7News, E24, Sahara Samay, Sananda TV, 24 Ghonta, Kolkata TV, Channel 10, NE Bangla, Mahuaa Bangla, Kalaignar TV [Tamil], Jaya TV, Raj TV, Tamil Box Office, Tamilan TV, GTV, SPV, KTV, J Movies, Nick, Sun TV, Z News, SAB TV, 9XM, Colors, Sahara One, Zoom, NDTV etc. The Bangladeshi cable operators are also down-linking signals of several foreign television channels without taking permission from the Ministry of Information, BTRC and other related organizations.

Commenting on illegal mass down-linking of Indian television channels, media personalities in Bangladesh said, "The Indian government has introduced a very difficult procedure for allowing their cable operators in down-linking signals of Bangladeshi television channels, while it is very strange that the government and related bodies are extremely reluctantly ignoring the fact of illegal down-linking of Indian and foreign television channels in Bangladesh."

It said, "Indian television channels are earning millions of dollars from the Bangladeshi viewers by showing their programs in this country, while their government is obstructing Bangladeshi channels even from showing their programs to Indian viewers at no cost."
Seeking anonymity a source inside Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission said, "Since the present government came in power in 2009, most of the Pakistani television channels, including PTV, Geo News, Indus Vision, Oye TV, Dawn News, Q-TV, Express 24/7 etc have been unofficially banned in Bangladesh, while BTRC and the ministry concerned are showing extreme reluctance towards local cable operators, who are continuing to down-link Indian national and even regional television channels without prior permission."

Bangladeshi television channel owners have been pressing Indian government with the demand of allowing down-linking of the signals of their channels in India. But such requests from the Bangladeshi TV channels have always been ignored by the Indian authorities. When asked, a CEO of an Indian Bangla channel told Weekly Blitz that Bangladeshi drama and folk music are extremely popular amongst the Indian audiences, especially those in the West Bengal. Indian television channel owners fear if Bangladeshi TV channels will be allowed to be down-linked in India similarly as those Indian channels being allowed in Bangladesh, the Indian channels, especially the Bangla channels will greatly lose advertisement revenue, as their audiences will immediately switch-over to Bangladeshi television channels.

"Bangladeshi drama, soap-operas and folk movies are extremely popular amongst a huge segment of Bangla speaking audiences in West Bengal. Once Bangladeshi television channels are allowed in India, the audience will immediately switch-over to those channels thus greatly affecting the TRP ratings of the Indian Bangla channels," it said.

It further said, "News presentation styles as well as talk-shows of Bangladeshi television channels are also very attractive, which again will also attain great attention of the Indian Bangla speaking population."The source indicated that the Indian government will do everything in obstructing the down-linking of the signals of Bangladeshi television channels, though it makes a paper promise of allowing such down-linking under several strict pre-conditions.

"The rules set by the Indian government are sufficiently unfavorable to Bangladeshi television channels from being allowed to be down-linked within Indian cable network. The rogue bureaucracy in India can hold such permission process for years, if not for decades with the excuse of scrutiny' it added.

Bangladeshi television viewers as well as members of Bangladeshi media have violently reacted to the extremely difficult procedures set by the Indian authorities in allowing their cable operators from down-linking signals of Bangladeshi television channels. They said, "India always tries its best in numerous ways of depriving its neighbors, including Bangladesh. Now it has become crystal clear that the Indian authorities are actually unwilling in letting Bangladeshi television channels being viewed in that country. Under such circumstance, only patriotic government in Bangladesh can resolve the issue by taking some tougher measures. They can immediately stop Indian channels from being viewed in Bangladesh, until the Indian government will lift all such troublesome procedures in allowing their cable operators in down-linking signals of the Bangladeshi channels."


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