Total 24 foreign TV channels have been allowed to resume broadcasting in Bangladesh as they are providing a "clean feed" as per the country's rules and regulations.
Channels including, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, Star Sports, Deutsche Welle, Ten Sports, and National Geographic became available to its viewers in Bangladesh from Tuesday morning, reports media.
The country's cable operators had stopped broadcasting foreign TV channels with clean feeds alongside those with advertisements on Friday following directives from the government.
"We have been told to resume airing the 24 channels after the ministry cleared them on Monday," several media reports quoted Nizam Uddin Masud, a former secretary general of the Cable Operators' Association of Bangladesh (COAB).
Earlier on Monday, Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasan Mahmud said there is no bar to operate the 24 foreign channels that have clean feed.
The next day he said that the government will launch mobile court drive again from Wednesday to ensure that ad-free foreign TV channels get back to air.
"Mobile court drives will be conducted again from Wednesday to check whether foreign channels having clean feed are being broadcast in the country," he told a delegation of Broadcast Journalist Centre (BJC) at the Secretariat.
Earlier on 1 October, mobile courts, under the direction of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, started operations to implement ad-free or clean-feed broadcasting of foreign TV channels.
Section 19 of the Cable Television Network Management Act, 2006 prohibits the broadcasting of advertisements through any foreign TV channels for the viewers of Bangladesh.
Why broadcasting is shut
Basically, the government's decision came following pressure from local private TV channels. According to local channel owners, this step of the government will end the opportunity for foreign channels to broadcast advertising without having to pay taxes in Bangladesh.
Private TV channel Ekattor TV Managing Director, Mozzamel Babu, said, "The law which prohibits foreign TV channels from broadcasting advertising is a 15-year-old law. A similar system of clean feed broadcasting is active in many countries, including neighbouring Nepal."
"We have been trying for many years to implement the same here. Now that broadcast is shut down, they will shortly provide clean feed," he added.
He also said, neither the Government of Bangladesh nor the National Board of Revenue (NBR) gets any revenue for the advertising on foreign channels.
"On the one hand, the government does not get any revenue from advertisements aired on foreign channels, while many multi-national companies have chosen foreign channels to promote their products in Bangladesh as they are popular in Bangladesh," he said.
The ad market
Television accounts for the biggest chunk of the entire advertisement market of the country. While there are no precise statistics on the size of Bangladesh's advertising market in terms of monetary value, according to some advertising firms, this market is valued approximately at some 350 million dollars, or three thousand crore taka, per year.
From the entire advertising market, the government gets 15% in VAT. Last year, the government received nearly 190 crore taka in VAT from this sector, according to NRB officials.