The International Federation of
Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed at reports from Bangladesh
that three television channels were blocked for viewers in the capital city of Dhaka on March 12,
coinciding with a speech by the leader of the national opposition at a
Sources indicate that three channels — Ekushey
Television, BanglaVision and Islamic TV — were inaccessible
for viewers between 3 pm that day, approximately an hour before the opposition
leader began her address, until 6:30 pm, after she concluded.
Staff at the affected TV channels
have revealed that the Cable Operators’ Association of Bangladesh (COAB) had
been asked by the government to suspend the transmission of the three channels
for this length of time.
There have also been reports that
the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, which grants licences
for use of the broadcast spectrum, may have directly intervened with certain
channels to dissuade them from covering the opposition rally live.
“The IFJ condemn these pressure
tactics which intrude into the domain of autonomous decision making by the
media and undermine the right of citizens to choose the manner of news coverage
they would like to listen to or view”, said the IFJ
“We underline once again that the
media should not be drawn into the partisan battles between Bangladesh’s two
main political parties and should be given the freedom to determine priorities
in accordance with stated editorial policies and beliefs”.
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0950
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries
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