Thursday, August 29, 2013

On this 115th day, I demand a free Diganta


In the midst of a shut down on its broadcasting services, private television channel Diganta Television completed the fifth year since its commencement into the television media scene in Bangladesh. Diganta Television officially started its journey on the 28th of August 2008 at a ceremony held in present day Bangabandhu International Convention Centre where erstwhile President Iajuddin Ahmed announced its inauguration. Diganta started its journey on that day with “a promise to remain steadfast on the path Truth and Elegance”. Five years have passed since that festive day. Amidst a journey filled with glittering achievements and heartwarming milestones, the television channel remained steadfast on its promise to deliver on the path of Truth and Elegance. Perhaps that is why it was victim to a brutal and unjust campaign of silencing by the government of Bangladesh since the wee hours of the 6th of May, as the team at Diganta Television tried their utmost to bring out to the world details of a state sponsored massacre that was happening right at the heart of Dhaka in Motijheel. Its mentionable that another channel, Islamic TV, was also shut down on that day. The government has been vague on why the two private television channels still continue to be subject to an indefinite shut down.

Deprived of the opportunity to crown five years of glorious accomplishments, the Diganta crew and community announced a two day long series of programmes highlighting the “commencement of 5 years of Diganta amidst black clouds of a broadcast ban”. Inspite of all the uncertainty amidst the temporary broadcast ban, Diganta employees turned up in symbolic black attire and adorned black badges while cutting a cake celebrating the moment in the presence of eminent personalities from all walks of life. This was a statement from an official at Diganta,

Dear Brothers & Sisters,Assalamualikum.
We take the honor to remind you to join with us into the 5th anniversary of Diganta Television tomorrow on August 28, 2013 at Diganta Television, Level:9, Al-Razi Complex,166 Syed Nazrul Islam Sharani, Bijoy Nagar Road, Purana Paltan, Dhaka. The moment of joy comes this year with the gloomy cloud of Shut Down (Temporary). Our path of Truth and Elegance is now closed with unexpected bars when Diganta was in remarkable position among the television viewers in home and abroad . We'll be happy to welcome you from 10am to 5pm. We expect you to encourage us during this special moment. Thanks for your continuous support and encouragement.Regards
Mojibur Rahman Monju
Diganta Television.  
Employees cutting the cake at Diganta premises
Rallies, sit-ins and public processions were held all over the country to mark the moment and ask the authorities to remove the ban on Diganta TV. Eminent personalities and public figures graced these programmes amidst a wide show of support from the general public which was testimony to the popular appeal that Diganta has garnered in such a short time.
Rally at Khulna to ask for the opening of Diganta

War hero Kader Siddiqui at Press Club in Dhaka in solidarity with Diganta sit-in
Shibir delegation among various organisations which showed solidarity at Diganta Television premises
I take this opportunity to add my voice to the fray and ask the relevant authorities and the government of Bangladesh to remove this ban that has set a precedent that no free society must witness. The ban on Diganta TV and Islamic TV (coupled with a ban on popular newspaper Amardesh) by the government of Bangladesh has come to be represented as one of the most repressive acts by any government upon media in Bangladesh.

I ask the government to remove this Digital BAKSAL.

On this 115th day of this authoritarian ban, I demand that the government free the shackles. Free Diganta TV. 

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