Vol. 5 Num 240 Thu. January 27, 2005  

Irregularities in recruitment, politicisation hamper development of BTV

Irregularities in recruitment, politicisation and bureaucratic tangle at Bangladesh Television (BTV) have seriously hampered the development of state-run electronic media.

The BTV, being used as a tool of government propaganda, has lost its credibility among the viewers who are more and more turning to private and foreign satellite TV channels.

But 90 percent of rural people who have no access to cable network are compelled to watch low standard BTV programmes, said dramatist Abdullah Al Mamun.

None of the eight producers presently working in the programme section of BTV was given direct appointment although there was a government rule that 75 percent of the posts at the producer level have to be filled up through fresh recruitment, according to BTV officials.

However, the percentage of direct recruitment was set at 50 in Bangladesh Television (Gazetted and non-gazetted officials and employees) Recruitment Rules, 1992.

Six copier-cum-typists were promoted to the posts of associate producers in June last year.

Most of the 40 designers were promoted from the posts of shifters and carpenters and 30 editors from Transmission or VTR keepers.

Presently, all the eight permanent cameramen against 40 posts were auto-promoted from the posts of camera cable boys or light assistants. The rest 32 posts have been lying vacant for the last five years although 15 to 20 cameramen work on contract basis.

The last direct recruitment in these posts was made in 1981 through competitive tests and the minimum requirement for candidates was a Master's degree with honours and in-depth knowledge and experience in any of the fields -- literature, song, drama and dance.

Under the new rule, even a clerk can become director general, said an official requesting anonymity.

There is not a single media organisation in the whole world where the lower class employees are promoted to the creative and policy-making posts, he said.

"There are some producers who were clerks only a few years ago," said a senior artiste.

These highly bureaucratic-minded people have turned the television into a dead institution that does no good to the people but wastes hundreds of crores of public money, said Badal Rahman, a former assistant producer of BTV and filmmaker.

"There is no system in the BTV to punish the inefficient people and reward the extraordinary professionals," an official said.

Most of the employees are busy trying to make extra money and get promoted to the higher posts, he noted. Political interference and nepotism also played a role in drastic slide in quality of the TV programmes, he added.

The BTV does not have its own programme in the prime slot from 7:00pm to 10:00pm except Thursday, sources said.

The BTV began providing slots to various organisations and individuals for programmes after the present government took office. And that created an opportunity for many politicians and partisan people to make programmes for the television and earn a huge amount of money.

These people, who have never been involved in creative and cultural activities, subcontracts productions of various programmes to other producers who does not give much attention to the quality.

The so-called artists, who have political links, get chances to perform in such programmes, said a senior artists, preferring anonymity.

Abdullah Al Mamun said there are many talented producers, dramatists, singers and artistes in the country, but they are not given any opportunity in the television.

"The whole system of the BTV got cancer, it needs a total change to run independently," said media personality Muhammad Jahangir.

The government should immediately leave the BTV to the Privatisation Board to rid it of the cancer, he said.

"BTV has become a dead organisation and we are just guarding the dead body," said an official of BTV.