A number of the Internet Protocol Television (IPTV) channels are airing in the country without rules and regulations as well as without the approval from the authorities concerned.
However, government approval is mandatory for running the IPTVs and all the online news portals as per the ‘National Online Mass Media Policy’ that was formulated in 2017, that states all online media must be registered with National Broadcast Commission.
However, until the commission is formed, the government or any other affiliated body empowered by the government will perform duty for the registration. The registration authority will allow online media that follow rules and regulations.
Meanwhile, in absence of the National Broadcast Commission, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry is planning approval of IPTV as per the ‘National Online Mass Media Policy, 2017’ after scrutiny. The ministry has taken the initiative to bring the IVTVs under registration process for their operation in a well-organised manner.
After the government’s plan, about 600 applications for IPTVs have been submitted to the ministry for registration. The ministry will approve 10 to 15 IPTVs this month (August), sources said. After approving 10 to 15 IPTVs, more IPTVs will be brought under registration in phases, said an official of the ministry.
Ruzina Sultana, Deputy Secretary (TV-2) of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, on Friday (August 6) told Bangladesh Post that the process of IPTV registration has started. Registration will be given from those whose applications have been submitted.
Earlier, Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud said that approvals would be given to some IPTVs this month. “We have asked the authorities concerned to apply for registration and many applications have already been submitted. We will give approval of some IPTV within this month after scrutiny,” he said.
The ‘National Online Mass Media Policy, 2017’ states that the government will formulate a regulation for the registration in consultation with the stakeholders. The regulations will describe the procedure for registration, eligibility and disqualification, and also the cancellation provisions. Until relevant laws, rules and regulations are enacted or if there is ambiguity in the relevant laws or policies, the government will take necessary steps in this regard. All registered online media will be considered as recognised institutions by the government.
However, even after registration, news cannot be broadcast from IPTV. This condition is clearly stated in the policy. But allegations have been brought against some IPTVs that they are already broadcasting news.
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) recently closed the IPTV ‘Jayayatra Television’ office owned by Helena Jahangir, who was held for her controversial activities. The RAB has also filed a case against Helena Jahangir for running the IPTV channel illegally.
It has been alleged that Helena Jahangir opened the IPTV and appointed a large number of representatives at home and abroad. In the name of giving journalists identity cards, from Tk 20 thousand to one lakh was taken from everyone.