15 June, 2024
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Russian satellite channels need to have its presence in Bangladesh


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In our rapidly evolving global society, characterized by extensive digitalization and constant reassessment, Bangladesh achieved the status of a satellite-enabled nation with the launch of Bangabandhu-1 in 2018. This satellite, Bangabandhu Satellite-1, has significantly enhanced various telecommunication services, prominently direct-to-home TV access. However, the unfortunate reality in Bangladesh is that citizens are limited to a curated selection of foreign TV channels, primarily dominated by Indian and Western options.

Despite having strong cultural ties and alliances with culturally rich nations like Russia, the citizens of Bangladesh are deprived of access to satellite channels from these trusted allies. This limited media landscape raises concerns about the fairness and diversity of information dissemination, as the choices presented to the public predominantly stem from Indian and Western sources. In essence, there is a discernible absence of channels representing the cultural wealth and perspectives of nations with which Bangladesh shares substantial connections.

In the evolving dynamics of the global stage, Bangladesh is increasingly establishing itself as a pivotal development partner for the Global South, which is poised to reshape the geopolitical and economic world order. Throughout its history, Russia has remained a steadfast and proven ally for Bangladesh since its independence. Bangladesh proudly maintains friendly bilateral relations with Russia.

However, it is surprising that despite these strong partnerships, the broadcasting channels of Russia are not accessible in Bangladesh. This unexpected limitation has prompted dissatisfaction among various segments of the citizenry. The discontent is specifically directed at what is perceived as manipulation orchestrated by India and the USA. As Bangladesh assumes a significant role in the broader geopolitical landscape, the absence of media accessibility from trusted allies raises pertinent questions about information flow and the complexities inherent in international relations.

In the realm of international engagement, Bangladesh sustains robust bilateral trade ties with Russia. Each year witnesses a considerable influx of students traveling to this nation for higher education, alongside a noteworthy number of tourists exploring the cultural richness it offers. This deepening connection prompts a keen interest among the people of Bangladesh in staying abreast of developments in Russia.’

However, recent events on the global stage, such as the European Union’s sanctions on Russia Today (RT) for its coverage of the Ukraine war, have sparked additional intrigue. Despite the UK no longer being an EU member, it curiously followed suit by blocking the broadcasting of RT. Speculation arises regarding potential pressure on Bangladesh to take a similar action, despite its perceived helplessness in resisting such influence due to its reliance on EU nations for garment exports. This intricate web of trade, education, and media dynamics reflects the nuanced challenges faced by Bangladesh in navigating international relationships.

The path to enhanced media accessibility encounters hurdles, primarily attributed to satellite-based Indian channels. These entities are accused of obstructing and manipulating the Cable Operators Association of Bangladesh (COAB), hindering the smooth integration of Russian channels. Critics argue that the presence of Indian channels not only impedes business operations but also disrupts domestic cultural bonds, circulating what is perceived as undesirable cultural influences in Bangladeshi society.

The situation takes on added complexity as Bangladeshi TV channels face bans in India, fueling suspicions of a larger conspiracy against Bangladesh. This interplay of media dynamics within the context of economic partnerships highlights the challenges of maintaining a balance between international trade relations and preserving domestic cultural integrity.

Bangladesh’s unique geopolitical position becomes a focal point for political and economic competition among global powers such as Russia, India, and the United States. The country’s strategic location on the Bay of Bengal further amplifies its maritime importance in the region. Adhering to a foreign policy aimed at maintaining balanced relations with all nations, Bangladesh recognizes the necessity to afford equal opportunities for cultural exchange, information dissemination, and hospitality.

In this context, it is crucial to extend equal facilities to Russian satellite TV channels, reflecting a commitment to impartiality. This move not only aligns with Bangladesh’s diplomatic principles but also ensures that diverse cultural perspectives and information are accessible within the nation, fostering a more comprehensive understanding of global affairs.

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