Live Telecast of Opposition Rally Blocked in Bangladesh

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

political rally.

 

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

Asia-Pacific.

 

“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”.

 

For further

information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific

on +612 9333 0950

 

The IFJ

represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

 

Find the

IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

 

Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific