Partial ban on cigarette ads on private TV in Bangladesh

MUMBAI : Neighbour Bangladesh too seems keen to clamp down on advertisements of tobacco use.

As a first step, the Bangladesh government has banned advertisements for cigarettes on private television before 10 pm as an interim measure before slapping a total ban. The decision was taken on Monday by Information Minister Tariqul Islam who directed the authorities concerned to take steps so that "no cigarette advertisement is telecast on private television before 10 pm", pending a final embargo. 

The directive came after elaborate discussion on cigarette advertisements on private TV channels in the meeting held at the Information Ministry yesterday between the government and the private TV authorities. Information Minister Tariqul Islam presided over the meeting, according to a report in the Bangladesh newspaper Daily Star.

On this side of the border, Indian information and broadcasting minister Sushma Swaraj recently reiterated the government's stance that the existing programming code doesn't permit TV channels, including state run Doordarshan, to air surrogate liquor or tobacco ads. A government panel which is looking into this issue had been sending notices to various channels and had managed to curb the menace of surrogate ads on TV channels substantially, the government maintains.

The two Bangladeshi private television channels targeted by the ban, Channel I and ATN Bangla also agreed to telecast two news bulletins of the state run BTV every day, in the course of Monday's meeting. Representatives of the two channels, present at the meeting, said they would incorporate BTV bulletins in their satellite telecasts as per the provision of a clause of the private television channel installation and operation policy, 1998.

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