Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud has applauded the role of the country's foreign channel operators for abiding by the law.
"I thank the foreign channel operators for complying with the country's law. The government has not closed any foreign channel. The operators have stopped broadcasting the foreign channels that violate the country's law," he said, talking to reporters at his office in the Secretariat on Sunday afternoon.
In reply to a query of reporters, the minister said first of all, the government did not shut down any channel. "The skies of Bangladesh are open, any channel can be broadcast here, but it has to abide by the laws of the country.
"In other countries, foreign channels are broadcast in accordance with the law. Only, in our country, the law was being violated for years. We informed all stakeholders about the implementation of this law two years ago. They were urged several times and notices have been issued," he said, adding, "Finally, we decided in a meeting with all stakeholders, in August, that we would implement the law from 1 October. That is what we did. No channel was shut down."
In response to a question about the closure of several foreign channels by cable operators, Hassan Mahmud said, "Since they did not get clean feed from the concerned channels, they have stopped broadcasting them. I applaud that, but we did not ask them to stop broadcasting. They were given time in advance so they could ask the concerned channels to send clean-feed. Enough, i.e. two years, time was given."
Asked about the movement of some cable operators resisting, he said, "The government will not bow down to any pressure. Of course, there can be negotiations if they want. However, the basis of discussion will be in abiding by the law, the basis will be protection of the interests of the country."
"Our mobile courts will be operating across the country and the secretary of the ministry is scheduled to hold online meetings with all DCs and divisional commissioners today (Sunday)," the minister said, adding that action would be taken if allegations of violations are found to be true.