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     Volume 4 Issue 69 | October 28, 2005 |

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Frankly Speaking

Nadeem Quader

GETTING good feedback on a programme in English aired on a popular local channel seems like a rather ambitious prospect. But Nadeem Quader's 'Frankly Speaking' on Ntv, an interview based programme shown fortnightly on Tuesday, is a refreshing effort to bring expatriates in Bangladesh who hold important positions or are somehow related to the development of the country, closer to the people. We read about so many diplomats or officials of important international organisations in the newspapers but seldom really get to know beyond what is written about them. Expatriates, on the other hand get to interact with only a handful of local people. A television programme that allows expatriates to express their views and more importantly, answer questions related to Bangladesh, is something that many viewers are interested in.

The response to 'Frankly Speaking', according to its host and creator, has been quite encouraging. "It is a show that reaches out to people, a programme that breaks the barrier by disproving the notion that a locally made English programme will not work."

The programme was first aired two years ago and started off with the first guest being Pakistan's foreign minister, Khursheed M Kasuri. "We took the whole crew to Sheraton as we did not have our own set back then." After four to five episodes the authorities of Ntv gave him a proper set and Quader invited a whole range of foreign dignitaries including Tripura's Chief Minister and a French minister. Diplomats coming or leaving the country are also interviewed. Recent guests include US Ambassador to Bangladesh Harry K Thomas and the Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Lorraine Barker. The programme has also brought in experts from various fields. "Many people come and go but we don't know what they take back with them," says Quader, a former correspondent for AFP.

Of course 'Frankly Speaking' is not a hard-hitting face to face interview programme where the interviewer brings the interviewee to his knees by jabbing him with unpleasant questions. But Quader does try to throw in one or two less diplomatic questions to his guests in order to get an honest view. One of his guests was British High Comissioner Anwar Chowdhury and he was asked about the bomb blasts, one of which almost killed

Nadeem Quader vis-a-vis the former US ambassador

him. He in his turn openly expressed his concern about the political bickering of the two women leaders of the country. "Most foreign guests interviewed have said that they like everything outside Dhaka and express that Bangladesh should be doing better," says Quader.

Occasionally Quader takes the show outside Bangladesh to get a feedback from people in other countries. Recently Quader went to Pakistan and interviewed the first Asian to climb the K2 Mountain. Quader who is the correspondent for Press Trust of India (PTI) and Research Associate of Reader's Digest, plans to travel to the SAARC countries for the upcoming Summit. "We want to talk to people on the street as well as experts and ask them what they think about SAARC." Currently Quader is trying to find sponsors to support this project. The programme is produced by Monowar Shahadat.

Frankly Speaking is the first English programme on Ntv and has the potential to let us know what the rest of the world thinks of us.
- A. M. A.

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