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Monday, 20 May, 2002, 17:43 GMT 18:43 UK
Bangladesh lifts TV ban
Dhaka viewer watching satellite film channel HBO movie
Foreign films fill a gap in the entertainment market

The government of Bangladesh has lifted a ban on the broadcast of 11 satellite television channels.

Cartoon channel programme
Children love satellite cartoon channels

The channels were banned earlier because of what the authorities said was their negative affect on the nation's religious and social values.

But the ban remains on two channels which screen rock and pop music.

The information ministry said that it had decided to lift the majority of the bans following complaints from satellite television distributors.

Although they have now been given a reprieve, the future of the 11 channels in Bangladesh is now unclear.

Cultural threat

The authorities could re-implement the ban when a committee meets later this month.

But the two channels which play rock and pop music, Music Television and Channel V, have been ordered to stop broadcasting because it is alleged that their content undermines Bangladeshi culture.

Dhaka street scene
High-rise blocks helped satellite channels spread

Earlier this month, the government prevented the screening of the film, Matir Moina, which is currently being seen at the Cannes Film Festival.

The authorities said that the film gives a negative impression of Islamic religious schools, or Madrassas.

Legal moves to close down the country's only terrestrial television station, Ekushey Television, popularly known as E-TV, will continue.

It is alleged that the station improperly obtained a license to broadcast from the opposition Awami League when it was in government.

The future of the channel will now be determined by the supreme court.

The government remains sensitive about the role of foreign broadcasting and media organisations following outrage across the political spectrum earlier this year over a recent edition of the Far Eastern Economic Review.

The magazine, which was also banned, that warned that Bangladesh was becoming a cocoon of Islamic terrorism.

See also:

16 May 02 | South Asia
30 Apr 02 | South Asia
01 May 02 | South Asia
27 Mar 02 | South Asia
25 Mar 02 | South Asia
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