When we broadcast our TV stream all over the world, especially in Europe, the condition we face is that it must be clean. This means that there will be no advertisements advertising products. This is true for all countries. Civilized TV channels do it on their own.
CNN does not broadcast US ads when airing in Bangladesh. He broadcasts the promo of his show during breaks. This is how it should be for every foreign channel.
The law has been in place for 15 years, but we have not been able to implement it in our country so far. This time again, the Minister of Information warned that the ministry would apply the law.
The minister met with all the stakeholders and set a deadline of September 30. But no one said anything at the time.
Our assumption is that every month, one hundred crore of advertising rolls out of the country. Bangladeshi market advertisements are shown in other countries. Not just domestic companies, many multinational companies like Unilever and Marico serve advertisements in foreign countries.
Like us, the government is also deprived of revenue. The government could get 15% VAT and 10% corporate tax on ads. The government is not receiving this money. As a result, we lose Tk900 crore and the government loses Tk300 crore.
If we get Tk 900 crore, we can pay corporate tax to the government. The government could get over Tk 300 million from the industry.
The government had to get tough at some point in the situation. The example of Nepal in this regard is encouraging. Nepal took the same initiative and foreign broadcasters followed the law.
You can clean the feed in three ways.
First, the broadcaster will create a clean stream for Bangladesh. Secondly, the Bangladeshi distributor could also download it and a turnaround platform will remove foreign ads and insert promo and uplink. The distributor will have to spend money on it. The chain distributor will have to install the platform.
If we can put pressure on them, they will install it. Otherwise, they won’t. And the third way is for the government to give the responsibility to a third party to do it. They will obtain the license to set up a cleaning platform. Their task will include removing advertisements and promotions.
I think if the pressure continues, distributors will come to the table and ask for a reasonable amount of time to implement it.
Mozammel Babu is the first vice president of the Association of Owners of TV Channels, Bangladesh