Bangladesh's first private television station, ETV (Ekushey TV) is poised to make a comeback after a year spent fighting the govt. authorities, who refused to renew its broadcasting license.
Ekushey TV ended years of state monopoly over television when it went first went on air in 1999. It won hearts of Millions of viewers by its good quality programs and specially its fair & unbiased news. Its popularity and reliabilty scared the ruling government and they found the flaw in the license of ETV.
The private channel went off the air in August 2001 after a senior journalist and two academics with links to the ruling party BNP challenged its bid for a new license. After refusing to give it a new license, the government expelled the station's managing director, British journalist Simon Dring.
In the past year, Ekushey TV has seen its foreign owners bought out by a Bangladeshi businessman and new board members brought in.
The broadcasting regulator has been ordered by the High Court to respond to Ekushey TV's demand for a new license within 30 days.
In a ruling, the court also admonished the country's broadcasting regulator, which it accused of "dilly-dallying" in answering Ekushey TV's requests for a fresh license.
Apart from the govt owned BTV (which is accused of blackouting opposition news and running only govt. propaganda) there are a couple of Satellite channels namely: Channel I, NTV & ATN Bangla. They are trying to put some kind of neutrality in their voice but they often are intimidated by ruling govt. party. And their is a hindrance. These satellite channels do not reach millions of viewers in extreme rural areas. ETV used to reach many of them with its terrestrial broadcasting network. I wonder whether the govt. will also renew ETV's terrestrial broadcasting license. Otherwise it won't be effective as before. And nobody knows whether Simon Dring would be allowed to take the helm of ETV again.