POST TIME: 18 October, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Remove illegal DTH by Dec 15
Says info minister

Remove illegal DTH by Dec 15

Information minister Dr Hasan Mahmud yesterday set a two-month deadline for the removal of DTH (direct to home) devices illegally installed in households. He warned that operators would face stern action after December 15 if the order was not complied with. He set the deadline at a view-exchange meeting with the stakeholders of television cable networks to bring the networks under a digital system. The meet was held at the ministry’s conference room at the Secretariat. Information secretary Abdul Malek and additional secretary Nurul Karim, among others, were present at the meeting.

“All illegal DTH connections will have to be removed by December 15. Otherwise, the government will take legal action against those giving the connections and the users,” he said. Mahmud said that about Tk. 700–800 crore was being siphoned off outside the country through “hundi” as monthly subscription fees.

This is making the government lose huge amounts in revenue, he added.

Briefing reporters prior to the meeting, the minister said the use of DTH was illegal as the government had not approved its use.

The information minister alleged that satellite programmes were being received via personal dishes at individual homes thanks to DTH.

These dishes are imported, and the distributors are taking one year’s money from consumers and sending the sum out of the country by illegal means, he added.

He warned that punitive action would be taken against dishonest distributors if they failed to remove DTH connections by the stated deadline of December 15. Replying to a question, the minister said if the illegal DTH devices were not removed by the stipulated time, the government would set up mobile courts to cut the connections.

The mobile courts may sentence the errant distributors to two years in jail, or fine them Tk. 1 lakh, or both, he added. He also said there were several lakhs of illegal DTH connections, mostly bought from Kolkata, India.

About the digitisation of broadcast media, Mahmud said it would ensure interest of the country’s media and media persons.

“Broadcasting of Bangladeshi advertisements on foreign TV channels has been stopped. Besides, cable operators are maintaining the serial of the Bangladeshi TV channels as per their date of beginning broadcast. After placing Bangladeshi channels first, they are putting the foreign channels,” he said.

He emphasised the need to digitise all television and cable networks in the country.

The meeting set December 30 this year for digitisation of all cable networks in major cities including Dhaka and Chattagram.

The minister pointed out that some television channels were airing foreign TV serials dubbed in Bangla, which was not acceptable. “The ministry has issued an order for TV channels to take government approval to broadcast dubbed serials. A preview committee will also be formed soon to oversee the matter,” he added.

Replying to another question, the minister said the government planned to impose tax on local advertisements featuring foreign artists and a policy in this regard was being prepared.