October 06, 2007

Media in Bangladesh under crisis

The Bangla blogging platforms "Somewhere in BBA" and "Sachalayatan" are growing popular day by day with thousands of bloggers/readers filling the void the Bangladeshi local media are creating. We are seeing in traditional media a sense of self censorship and lack of professionalism. These have sometimes become propaganda machine for the authorities or some political quarters. People are generally weary of media reports.

I bring to your notice to a worrying report from the Blogger Bahurupi at Somewhere in. Here is the translation (shortened version: read the original in Bengali for full version):
Bangladeshi media are in a grave crisis. There seems to be no way out of this. After the Jute industry most people have lost their jobs in media industry and many will soon join them.

'Ajker Kagoj' has been closed because of financial crisis. It had financial crisis since long. But it was sort of a business card of the editor Kazi Shahed. The paper catered many of his business propaganda. In present circumstances there is no opportunity to exploit these. So it was closed. If such an opportunity comes again it will reopen, you can be sure of it.

There are many bloggers in Somewhere in who work in 'Jai Jai Din'. They will better tell whether they are getting their salaries in time. Will Shafiq Rehman be there? Will Golam Sarwar join as the editor? if such questions are not answered soon it will close down.

'Dinkal's' bank transactions have been freezed by authorities. The paper cannot pay salaries to its employees. If there is no alternative source of funding will Dinkal be published again?

How many months 'Amar Desh' do not pay salary to its employees? Is it four months?

How many months Daily Janakantha will be able to continue? Its crippling with fund crisis, salaries remain unpaid. They sold some land to pay salaries. What next?

The daily Ittefaq sacked 72 people. (Its reeling with management disputes) The advertisement income has plunged.

There is strong rumor that the Daily Jugantar will curtail employees.

The name of the owner of the Daily Star and the Daily Prothom Alo are on the list (of corrupts published recently by the Corruption Prevention Commission).

Somokal's owner is also on the list. The monthly loss of Samokal is 2 million Taka.

CSB TV has been closed. NTV's bank account is freezed. The employees salaries are withheld.

RTV had not paid its employees last month. Channel one's state is similar. The Government is angry with Channel one.

So what is happening in local media industry? The current Government also do not want that a powerful media exists. These pressures will close the media one by one. The media are in deep crisis.