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News Analysis: 'Artistes with borders'

  • Published at 03:40 pm December 5th, 2016
  • Last updated at 06:11 pm December 5th, 2016
News Analysis: 'Artistes with borders'
The rationale is presumably that if foreign TV channels receive advertisement revenue from local manufacturers then the local TV channels lose out on what might have been spent on advertisements in those outlets. This demand was part of a five-point charter that a platform of television artistes, Federation of Television Professionals’ Organisation (FTPO), put forward with a deadline of December 31. Now that local products are banned from being advertised on foreign channels that are geared towards Bangladeshi markets, the local manufacturers might also raise a similar demand in reverse - a ban on the advertising of foreign goods on local channels. They could argue that foreign products, with their substantially higher advertisement budgets, are driving rates high and depriving local products from much needed airtime. Therefore, they could argue that companies like Samsung and Nestle should not be allowed airtime on local channels if Pran is not allowed airtime on foreign channels. No doubt it would be a lame argument. No one is raising the issue of the quality and popularity of TV shows. While Zee Bangla and Star Jalsha, both Bangla channels, have caught the hearts of Bangladeshi households with their serials, Bangladeshi producers and artistes have failed to do that. Even as the television artistes continue their campaign against popular shows and local commercials on foreign channels, they have hardly made any demand to help them raise their quality of production. There has been hardly any talk about the pathetic standards of most of the local television channels. It appears to completely escape the TV professionals that their shows are not popular. That people flock around the television to watch soap serials produced in West Bengal does not appear to worry them at all. They are only bent on depriving advertisers from the mileage instead of upping their game. They are bent on depriving people from popular shows instead of producing shows that beat the foreign ones. This must be a rare instance that media artistes who are often the harbinger of openness and liberty are demonstrating such a constricted and narrow vision that pushes for banning others just so that they do not feel threatened. If the demands of TV artistes were to be translated into another industry - publishing, for example - it would mean that Bangladeshi writers were pushing for a ban on translations. They would also be moving for a ban on all advertisement of Bangladeshi products on foreign websites, meaning that people would be barred from advertising through Google and Facebook. It is needless to explain such obtuse folly.