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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
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Channel 1 shut

Regulator seizes equipment for 'illegal' use of rented equipment; TV company insists machines owned by it

Private television Channel 1 went off-air yesterday after regulators stopped its transmission for using rented broadcasting equipment in violation of the law.

A three-member team of Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission went to Channel 1 office on Uday Tower in Gulshan at 6:30pm and switched off its transmission. The channel was broadcasting its 6:30pm news bulletin.

The BTRC said Channel 1 had sold off its broadcasting equipment and has been using machinery owned by another company. "But as per law, the licensee must own the equipment," said Post and Telecommunications Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju.

The government cannot tolerate such unlawful activities, he told journalists at the secretariat.

However, Channel 1 authority told the media that the bank auctioned its equipment and a company won the bid, the auction winner has not yet made the payment. So, the channel still owns the equipment.

Talking to The Daily Star, BTRC Chairman Zia Ahmed said the One Entertainment Ltd, owning company of Channel 1, took a loan of Tk 24 crore from Prime bank in 2005 mortgaging the broadcasting equipment. The bank put it up for auction as the channel failed to pay back the loan.

Later, a company named Peoples Entertainment Ltd bought the equipment, but as per the Telecommunication Act 2001, radio equipment is not transferable to anyone who does not have a licence issued by the BTRC, said Zia.

The act has a provision for sentencing anyone who violates the law to 10 years in prison or imposing a fine of Tk 10 lakh or both.

The BTRC has found that the Channel 1 authority paid off its bank loans by selling the equipment to another company through an auction arranged by the bank. The channel then rented the same equipment to air its programmes.

Prime Bank, when reached, refrained from making any official comment on the status of the auction.

The employees of Channel 1 broke down in tears after the channel was sent off-air. They had repeatedly urged the BTRC team not to shut down the channel and go for alternative action if there are any irregularities.

The Channel 1 management claimed that they replied to all BTRC notices in time.

The BTRC issued the last show-cause notice to the channel on April 14, asking it why the channel will not be shut down.

"We replied properly to all the BTRC notices," said Channel 1 Director Mazidul Islam at a briefing.

"We are also ready to reconstitute the management if the government wants," he said.

He said they filed a case against Prime bank for arranging the auction, but the court judgment came against the channel.

He said the Prime Bank recently informed the Channel 1 management that the broadcasting equipment was not yet handed over to the bid winner as the payment was not made.

Channel 1 was established on June 1, 2005. It started broadcasting on January 24, 2006 with 400 employees. The channel's founder Giasuddin Al Mamun is known as a close associate of BNP chief Khaleda Zia's son Tarique Rahman.

Asked if there is any political intention behind shutting down the channel, minister Raju said, "We are not considering who the owners of the channel are."

He said the Channel 1 authority failed to give satisfactory replies to the BTRC notices.

The private television industry has been flourishing in Bangladesh since mid-1990s.

However, suspension of TV channels' operation is not new.

In August 2002, the government shut down the operation of ETV. The last caretaker government shut down broadcasting of news channel CSB in September 2007. The present government suspended operation of Jamuna Television in November 2009 during test transmission.

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My station Channel One is closed! This has been done intentionally by the Gov't to have their revenge on what BNP Gov't did in their rule by closing down Ekushey TV. If irregularity did happen, the institution should be punished by a fine. Why on earth the professionals have to suffer?

: Shameem Mahboob, Chief of News Presentation, Channel One

The authority might consider the so called allegation against Channel1 as there are a huge number of people involved with it.

: Mizan

Comments

  • Syed Jabed
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 04:07 PM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    Mr. Shameem Mahboob I'm sorry if you lost your Job. But I think you are wrong. The law is, TV channel must own their equipment not rented to broadcast their transmission. When 3rd party has purchase the existing equipment from auction how on earth Channel 1 has right to continue transmission. Please do not look politics in every action of the BTRC or Govt. You break the law you got to pay for it, simple is that.

  • Mustafa Zaman
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 12:50 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    The government should be very strict about how these TV channels operate. One must remember that this channel was owned by controversial businessmen Mamun.

    These TV channels must not be allowed to indulge in rampant financial irregularities and corrupt practices. I urge the parliament to enact laws for punitive measures against TV channels that use these extraterrestrial TV channels for illegal money laundering activities.

    I am sure the government will reveal all the facts about the irregularities of this channe to the public. I also request the Telecom minister to immediately help the laid off Channel One staff during their relocation period.

  • Jumana Sarwar
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 12:54 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    Irregularities if any do not warrant outright closure of a TV channel, it can be at best subject to penalties pending on court decision. When employment creation is limited both in public and private sectors, closure of any business unit including this TV channel will add only misery to some people who will lose their jobs and the nation will be deprived of free views and information. The media acts as catalyst to improve the quality of democratic culture and silencing them is contradictory to way forward steps. Playing with every organ of the nation is not a healthy sign and the AL headship may have to pay a heavy price for it.

  • Rashid
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 01:01 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    Let us not be carried away by emotions. Channel One also played a dubious role during the BDR rebellion by airing irresponsible video footages to destabilise the new government.

    If it is found guilty it should be severely ounished so that in future no TV channels dare to submerge themselves in financial irregularities.

  • Enam
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 01:40 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    It is totally political issue.

  • Sheikh Monirul Islam, Opee
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 03:36 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    I have my serious doubt about the authenticity of the ulterior motive; I hope it is not political? Recently we have seen in the media regarding issues pertaining to media people; ETV Charmin & MD was arrested in Mumbai with his pistol & 7 round of ammunition and the very next day his property in Gulshan were attacked.

    I think freedom of expression is under attack. Awami League is seriously into control of media. Recent we have observed the procedure of issuing 10 new private TV channel licenses, all went to AL trusted men.

    This is very worrying and we see clear sign of double standard.

  • citizen
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 04:54 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    Government should go to the court to shut down the channel 1,instead using cxecutive power.Its raised queistions that government are shuting down for political reasons.

  • Kazi Firoz
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 06:21 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    There are some Channels which are led by Jamaat-e-Islami elements should be banned.


  • Wednesday, April 28, 2010 07:04 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    Good job.

  • Sawgat Chowdhury
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 08:06 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    I hate to admit but Awami League govt giving away next election to BNP.

  • nasarullah
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 08:50 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    we the general people don 't understand the issues related to broadcasting but only belive in democracy, right to speak and respect others views and opinion .

    the suddent stopage of channel 1 broadcasting has raised the many concerns whether the present rulling party does want flourishing of the democracy , respect others opinion though the party promised to change its political concept and come out from traditional politics..

    hope the government would feel the people pulse and soon allow the channel 1 to go on air.

  • Mohammad
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 08:53 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    The equipment is rented or owned - how can it be an excuse for shutting down a channel?

  • Sabrina Ahmed
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 08:58 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    If the government showed its leniency in the name of promoting freedom of expression ,shutting down of the channel could easily have been averted.By closing the operation down,government has just followed the footsteps of its illustrious(?) predecessors, who did the same act in their tenure.

    What will happen to all those employees,programmes waiting to be on air and the related artists?

    Sabrina

    Kalabagan.

  • dr. md. morshed hasan khan
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 10:13 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    Shame on me that I still staying in Bangladesh and was born in Bangladesh.

  • Nasirullah Mridha,USA
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 11:38 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    BNP government had been suspended the 'EKUSHEY' for irregularities.now AL took the revenge by shut down CHANNEL1.


  • Wednesday, April 28, 2010 11:15 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    This was a wrong step taken against the channel. The authorities should have considered all the employees and their lives before taking such action. This is a time where flourishing industries ought to be encouraged not demolished like this. There are always alternative ways and legal procedures to work out issues in any system. The government should be supporting private channels as these are the window to Bangladesh from the outside world. Whatever the explanation the government has, it is very disappointing, the act.

  • Prince Sajeeb
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 04:02 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    Govt. should look into the matter. What had happened behind the scene.

  • tamal roy
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 12:27 PM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    Next time when opposition party come they will take revenge & will shut down AL MP's tv channel.in August 2002, the government shut down the operation of ETV.look at the western countries how freely they running their tv channels.

  • Ezajur Rahman
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 01:09 PM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    The public interest comes first. The channel should not have been shut down. The courts should have been used and the channel should have been put under a caretaker management. Also the bank has been repaid by the channel! while the rules were broken it does not follow that the channel should be destroyed!

  • Tanjeel
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 01:14 PM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    We patronize laws and also break laws whenever it is symmetric to our interest.

    We use law not for the welfare of people but to exploit people.

  • Hassan
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 01:34 PM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    I feel the country is going down wards.......I hardly get to see the improvements in the government body. Its very shameful for a nation who doesnt believe in freedom of speech.

  • Iqbal Hussain
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 01:34 PM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    Channel 1 should seek forgivness from the Honorable President of the Republic. His excellency might forgive Channel 1 enabling them be on air again.

  • UC
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 12:30 AM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    This will be taken by the opposition as an attempt to curb media freedom. Govt should have refrained frm harsh measures and the timing is also very bad. Just during the power crisis and after the Bhola election. This should have been handled in a better way.

  • Moinul Hossain
    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 03:20 PM GMT+06:00 (222 weeks ago)

    Even a thief can show excuse in favour of his crime. So, intention is more important. The govt. wanted to do it & finally did it.

    However, closure of Ekushe tv & channel one are not all the same. ETV was not closed by the executive power of govt. It was closed after a long legal fighting regarding the validity of license & only after an order that came from HC.


 

 


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