The government must intervene immediately to stop fall of the TV-based entertainment industry in Bangladesh for the greater welfare of people involved in it and the greater interest of the citizens of the country as well, said Federation of Television Professionals Organisation president Mamunur Rashid.
Mamunur Rashid said that the government did not do anything after forming a committee in 2016 despite the fact that the federation gave specific proposals for stopping further fall of the entertainment business that became a monopoly of the commercial agents and was facing huge challenges from foreign entertainment programmes.
‘The federation approached the government when many local artistes and crews became jobless as the local TV channels started airing Bangla-dubbed foreign series instead of buying local teleplays or series,’ the seasoned director-actor Mamunur Rashid said.
He further added that the federation proposed to the government that it set a policy specifying timeslots for airing advertisement during programmes, stop airing Bangla-dubbed foreign series during prime time and stopping random airing of the Indian drama series through satellite TV channels.
‘Over the years, we have been saying that the cheap entertaining drama series portraying dark sides of family life, which the Indian TV channels air throughout the day was destroying the taste for good programmes and seriously affecting the viewers mindset,’ he said.
Even the Indian researchers revealed that rape and family break-up incidents were on the rise in India after being exposed to the cheap entertaining songs and programmes randomly aired on TV channels, he added. ‘We are also facing the same problem here in Bangladesh.’
‘I think the government is yet to realise the impact of such entertainment on the public consciousness. It could set some policies regarding random airing of the cheap, entertaining foreign TV programmes as it did in case of Indian films,’ he said.
The government, he said, must realise the fact that a TV channel that has access to the bedroom of every household is more effective and powerful a medium than a film which is screened in cinemas.
'TV channel owners, on the other hand, are behaving irresponsibly and are trying to blindly imitate the Indian TV programmes as they are being dictated by the commercial agents,' he said.
‘We know that the TV channel owners are very powerful at least we have the evidence. When we tried to stop airing Bangla-dubbed foreign series and we failed. They should collectively bargain with the advertising agencies to fix the time slot and rate of the commercials considering the fact that viewers do not watch local TV programmes these days for so many commercials,’ he said.
‘Those who lament the fact that quality teleplays are missing since the 1980s on the state-run BTV and on some private TV channels since the following decade, must also remember that the channels used to maintain a minimum standard and they never created such nuisance airing so many commercials, as is the case these days,’ Mamun argued.
The private TV channels these days do not have any preview committee to select plays as they sold out their ‘programme chunks’ to the advertising agencies, he said.
‘The agents pick the plays and collect advertisements for running those in their purchased time. So, they run as much TV commercials as possible. Thanks to such a commercially motivated system, the sponsors drastically reduced the rate of the commercials,’ he said.
Head of programmes of many other private TV channels, he said, select plays of those directors who grease them and also instruct them to cast those actors who do commercials of big sponsors or keep close relations with the TV channel authorities.
Being bored with the burden of the TV commercials, many viewers these days prefer watching web series available on YouTube and other online streaming platforms where Bangla series portraying sex and violence are enjoying greater number of hits, he said.
‘What can you expect in such a situation?’ he asked.
‘The local entertainment business is almost dead for the negligence of the government and excessive commercialised attitude of the TV channel owners. But, they should also realise the fact that they are destroying themselves and the nation as well,’ Mamun rounded off his argument.
Without further delay, he demanded, the government must stop free airing of foreign TV channels, he said adding that the local TV channels also should behave responsibly considering the greater interest of the people and their culture.
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