Bangla channel ETV gets some respite as review petition set for 24 August

MUMBAI: ETV, Bangladesh's first private terrestrial television channel, which is under threat of closure from the authorities, has again managed to get some breathing time from the country's apex appeals court. 

The Appellate Division, headed by Chief Justice Mainur Reza Chowdhury, in its order issued yesterday, decreed that it could to continue broadcast till 24 August, the new date set for disposal of a review petition, Bangladesh's The Independent, reported today.

According to The Independent, the Appellate Division had earlier stayed its own order of upholding the verdict of a High Court Division Bench that declared the agreement between ETV and the government without any lawful authority and allowed the ETV's prayer for filing a review petition and also allowed five weeks to do so. 

The court accepted ETV's plea that it could not file the review petition as it "did not get the certified copy of the court's order."

The High Court had earlier found irregularities in the existing agreement between ETV and the government and held that the granting of licence to ETV was done without any lawful authority. The Appellate Division on 2 July allowed ETV five weeks to file a review petition against its (court) order.

If the Appellate Division finally does uphold the verdict of the High Court, ETV would have to shut down its telecasts till issuance of a fresh licence by the government. 

The writ petition against the ETV was filed by two Dhaka University teachers and the president of the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) Gias Kamal Chowdhury, on 19 September, 2001 challenging the legality of the ETV-government agreement. 

ETV was launched on the basis of an agreement signed between the Ministry of Information and AS Mahmud, Chairman of the company, on March 9, 1999. 

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