Star Movies, HBO, MTV among satellite channels banned in Bangladesh

The Bangladesh government has clamped down on eight Indian popular satellite pay channels and five FTA channels to "resist the adverse impact of alien culture on religious and social values."

According to the Bangladeshi newspaper Daily Star, the decision to ban HBO, Star Movies, MTV, Channel V, AXN, MGM and Hallmark, was taken at a joint meeting of different TV channels, cable ops and channel distributors with officials of the ministry of information.

The newspaper, quoting official press releases, said that the meeting 'unanimously decided' to shut out the channels until further orders. The clampdown on Star Movies, Star World and HBO is being implemented despite objections by the channel distributors, reports say. Cable ops also agreed to stop telecasting five 'free-to-air' channels - RAI TV, PTP, TVE, MTV and SNTV, out of respect to "the socio-cultural and religious sentiment" of the people, the handout added.

The cable operators, bowing to government diktat, also promised not to show VCD movies, while ATN Bangla too toed the line by assuring that it would not telecast 'objectionable foreign films' in future.

Information Minister Tariqul Islam chaired the meeting, media reports say. Reports say the information minister thanked the satellite operators and distributors for expressing their solidarity with people's sentiments "spontaneously" by closing down "harmful" satellite channels. He has been quoted as saying that, if necessary, more channels will be closed down.

President of the Cable Operators' Association of Bangladesh (COAB) SM Anwar Parvez told the Daily Star that the decision made at the meeting was immediately implemented and "we switched off all the identified channels." He has been quoted by the newspaper as saying that many countries, including Pakistan, Malaysia and Australia, have restrictions on certain channels which go against public values and culture.

The newspaper has also quoted sources as saying that the distributors of Star Movies and HBO have however, opposed the decision of shutting down these two channels.

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