Monday, July 22, 2002

Alaap: Ekushey Television -- To be or not to be?

Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2002 10:56:56 +0600
From: Maqsoodul Haque (mac)
Subject: Re: Ekushey Television -- To be or not to be?

Dear Alaapis,

The usual bunch of jokers who, as a matter of routine, have an unsolicited 'say' in any matter of national interest or otherwise, have as usual jumped in with a writ to 'save' Ekushey TV, while the truth is this attempt is no more that resuscitating an already dead patient! Good luck nonetheless in order.

Mr. Asif Saleh has painfully provided us with two articles - one from Nima Rahman from SCREAMING GIRL Production, who now seems to be somewhat a whimpering CRYING GIRL today. Truth is, their days of dhandabaji are over - because other than ETV no other channel is interested to 'buy' hogwash from these Awami-ised, chetonizd bunch of culture/vultures. Packup time in package-speak, so to say! Screaming - very much a part and parcel of the above cult is hopefully on its way out - or am I wrong?

However, some of the arguments in Nima's article seem to have been typically 'lifted' from somewhere we well know about don't we - given the long debates on ETV that forums have seen?

The choice example follows, the illogic's of their 'logic' pretty well worn out ...and that Nima has been 'commissioned' to write this article on behalf of her now 'ex-employers', as a last ditch stance, is more than apparent! Let me assure you no 'hornet's nest' will be stirred. Somebody should be reminding Nima that it was the state owned BTV that made her the 'star' she is supposed to be today - not the ETV. What BTV however could not do was make her a dhandabaj, which of course ETV was more than willing - and newspapers are not the avenues to seek retribution to her now 'losing business interest'. Maybe she can file for bankruptcy?

I quote Nima :

Will banning ETV stop others from doing anything illegal? Will it stop people from giving or taking bribes? Will all tenders, from henceforth, be given in the right way? Will everything between the Government and the public becomes transparent? Will the general people be able to voice their likes and dislikes? Will all the people get jobs, which would be just as challenging? Will we -- the freelancers -- be able to make an honest living? Will the programme making industry ever be able to sustain such harshness? Will we be able to get over our insecurity? Who will answer these questions? We know none of these will happen overnight.
However what Mr.Asif Saleh has failed to provide us is the rejoinders to Dr.Manzoor Ahmed's old article which I take much delight in presenting to all of you. Please note the letter from Mr. M.A. Kalam of New York,USA

I quote:


"The ETV case: How to really serve public interest?"
M. A. Kalam, New York, USA

I have read the opinion "The ETV case: How to serve public interest" by Manzoor Ahmed with great interest. He has argued for ETV in great length for the sake of public interest. The success of ETV is not a success unless it is a success ethically as well as professionally. The other private channels could have mimicked the same popularity like ETV if they were given the same preferential treatment as it was done for ETV. When public interest takes a back seat to political/corporate greed it become private want, and our elite should do better than argue for a case like this.

Deal like this has rocketed us to the rank of number one corrupt country in the world. We buy aircraft carrier from Korea, MIG from Russia, and rotten Rice from India, I am very sure all these are done in greater public interest! Why not request the military for martial law to curb terrorism in our country ceasing all democratic process in greater public interest? I don't think that too many people will complain.

The writer suggested a couple of unique remedies to balance (not fix) the injustice, 20 per cent of total airtime for educational or public interest program. If the Supreme Court does not kill ETV this sure will. And why should anybody flex their muscle on a private company to bring in outside directors is something right out of the draconian law book?

My suggestion, plain and simple. Float the second channel for open public (as in public interest) tender. Whoever pays the highest amount gets the channel. If that person has broadcasting license, he uses it for himself. If he doesn't, he rents it to companies (either fully or as time-sharing) who have broadcasting licenses. In the later case, all the private TV channels will have access to the second channel. End result will be better programming, competition, and a level playing field for everybody. By the way, ETV pays 70 per cent of the highest bid amount as the fee that it did not pay for its past uses of this channel. It is a very small price to pay for ethical misconduct and unlawful enrichment. Ask Arthur Andersen, Enron, WorldCom.
Why Mr. Asif Saleh has been so 'selective' about news he circulated on ETV is something that should not baffle too many readers who have been following the debates!

However, for those of us watching this keenly and have not taken any sides with the criminal misadventures of ETV- look forward to the criminal suits that will follow after 7th of August 2002.

Please stay tuned.

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