• Monday, Nov 28, 2022
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Cable operators stop airing foreign channels without clean feed

  • Published at 08:01 am October 1st, 2021
Photo: Bigstock

The move came in line with a previous government directive, say operators

Millions of television viewers in Bangladesh could not watch any foreign TV channels as the government yesterday asked the cable operators to halt the service until “clean feed” was ensured.

The operators intercepted the channels in line with the policy that advertisements on foreign channels, meant for the respective countries, cannot be shown in Bangladesh.

As the operators do not have such technology to cut off the advertisement from the programs aired by the foreign channels, they stopped broadcasting the channels.

However, a source at the Information and Broadcasting Ministry said that some foreign channels had already agreed to transmit “clean feed” for Bangladesh. Those will be unlocked soon.

“Many are thinking that the cable operators have stopped airing some channels for some reason. But it happened due to a government directive,” said Cable Operators Association of Bangladesh (Coab) President SM Anwar Parvez.

He added that it would continue until further directives from the government. 

“We have talked to our local cable operators. The foreign channels have been blocked at the grassroots levels as well,” he told Dhaka Tribune.

Also Read - Hasan: Mobile courts will ensure ad-free foreign TV channels

Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud said no one would be allowed to run foreign TV channels without “clean feed” in the neighboring countries like India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Pakistan. 

"I informed the matter of implementing clean feed broadcasting to my Indian counterpart during my recent visit to India."

The minister on Thursday said that mobile courts would be conducted to ensure the decision. “Legal actions will be taken against the distributors and operators who have the downlink approval of those channels.”

He added that the cable operators had been informed about the decision in August. “The excuse of foreign channels not sending clean feeds will no longer be tolerated,” said the minister.

Also Read - Minister: No foreign channels without clean feed after Sept 30

Why was this decision taken?

The foreign channels, especially the ones of the sub continent, were given permission to air in Bangladesh, were asked to provide advertisement-free contents. 

“But they have been violating the condition,” said Ruzina Sultana, deputy secretary [TV-2] of Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

“They are showing advertisements here but not paying taxes. There have been talks over the issue but no progress. So, we asked them to telecast ad-free contents in Bangladesh,” said Ruzina, who is coordinating the matter.

The decision to not allow advertisements was taken at a meeting on September 16.

Later, the government sent a notification to the operators giving the deadline.

Also Read - Advertisers asked not to air local TVCs in foreign TV stations

Since Friday morning, viewers from different parts of the country said that they could not watch the foreign channels.

On September 2, following a meeting with the Association of Television Channel Owners (ATCO), TV channel distributors and cable operators’ representatives at the ministry, Hasan Mahmud told the reporters that they were thinking of not letting any more foreign channels broadcast after September 30 if they did not follow the “clean feed” policy.

What is a clean feed policy?

Cable operators often aired foreign channels with commercials, which is a violation of the law. 

The “clean feed” policy calls for foreign channels to streamline content according to region, i.e. not air commercials meant for their region in other regions.

For example, if Indian TV channels are to be aired in Bangladesh, commercials produced by those channels will not be allowed to be aired here.

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