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Thursday, 29 August, 2002, 11:53 GMT 12:53 UK
Private Bangladesh TV goes off air
The headquarters of ETV in Dhaka
Ekushey Television (ETV) was launched in April 2000

Bangladesh's only independent terrestrial broadcaster Ekushey television (ETV) has gone off air on Thursday after losing a legal battle over it's broadcasting rights.

A few hours earlier, the country's Supreme Court had ruled that the license issued to ETV had no legal basis.

Despite the court ruling, ETV broadcasts continued until 1700 (Local time) when the state-run Bangladesh TV shut down its facilities for ETV.

Ekushey Television, a news and entertainment channel, was launched in April 2000 as the country's first private terrestrial broadcasting channel.

The Awami League government led by Sheikh Hasina then in power, granted ETV the broadcasting rights as well the permission to use the transmission facilities of the state-run Bangladesh television.

Allegations

Last year, the validity of the license was challenged by three men believed to be backed by the present four-party coalition government led by Prime Minister Khaleda Zia.

The ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party and it's Islamist allies have been complaining that ETV was biased against them and that in its programmes, ETV sympathised with the opposition Awami League.

The ETV management have rejected the allegations , insisting their coverage of news and current affairs has always been balanced and neutral.

Ekushey television claims to be Bangladesh's most popular television channel, covering half the country's population.

The channel also beams it's programmes to the United Kingdom via satellite for nearly 300,000 Bangladeshis living there.

See also:

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