Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud today said the government will work with the broadcast journalists and workers to ensure legal protection of their jobs and other facilities.
“Let’s work together to save the TV industry. The legal protection will be ensured if the Broadcast Act is passed,” he said, addressing a meeting to discuss problems in broadcast media.
Broadcast Media Center (BJC) and Press Institute of Bangladesh (PIB) jointly organized the discussion with PIB Director General Zafar Wazed in the chair.
The minister said a big revolution has taken place in Bangladesh’s media sector during the Awami League regime under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheik Hasina.
“She (Sheikh Hasina) gave first private TV license after assuming power in 1996. Now around 34 private TV channels are on air while 44 channels got licenses,” he added.
Along with the flourishing of the industry, Hasan said, some problems have been created, including the fall in the advertisement and its rate in TV media. Now the industry needs combined efforts to sustain, he added.
The minister said, “I’m working relentlessly for the betterment of the journalists after taking charge of the ministry. But I need all out supports from all stakeholders. It’s our responsibility to give protection to the journalists as they are the mirror of society.”
About the digitalization of the broadcast media, Hasan said, “After the digitalization of this sector, the interest of the country’s media and its employees will be ensured.”
He said discipline has been established in the electronic media sector following different steps. The government will take actions if there is any irregularity, the minister added.
He said airing Bangladeshi advertisements in foreign channels has been stopped. “Besides, the cable operators are maintaining the serial of the Bangladeshi TV channels as per their on air date. After keeping Bangladeshi channels, the cable operators are keeping the foreign channels on the list,” he added.
The minister said some television channels are airing foreign TV serials dubbed in Bangla which is not acceptable. “So, the ministry has issued an order for TV channels to take the government’s approval to broadcast the dubbed serials. A preview committee will also be formed soon to oversee the matter,” he added.
“We have already taken initiatives for the betterment of mass media . . . these initiatives put media in order mostly,” Hasan said.
He said many companies, specially the multinational ones, are making advertisements with the second grade artistes of foreign countries. “But, we have some international standard artistes . . . so, the government has planned to restrict making adds with foreign artistes,” he added.
The government has already taken many steps to bring discipline in the broadcast media in the last six months, Hasan, also the publicity and publication secretary of the AL, said.
The minister said the government gave license to the mobile companies to run mobile network only. “But they are now creating video contents along with advertisements for the social media which is not acceptable. Legal actions will be taken in this regard, he added.
Hasan urged the private television owners to refrain from firing media journalists, saying the journalists are working round the clock for their respective TV channels.
Senior journalist Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) President Molla Jalal, Dhaka Union of Journalist (DUJ) General Secretary Sohel Haider Chowdhury, BJC trustees Mozammel Babu, Munni Shaha, Mamunur Rahman Khan and BJC Chairman Rezaun Haque Raza, among others, spoke in the meeting.