Amid serious concerns from media professionals over the National Broadcast Policy-2014, advertising agencies fear the sector will be badly affected if the policy is implemented.
The broadcast policy has at least 31 do's and don'ts for the advertisers, detailed in the fourth chapter, which ban any advertisement failing to obtain clearance certificates from concerned authorities. According to a clause in the policy, advertisers must have permission to use any copyrighted song in any advertisement.
Nationally important monuments and establishments such as the Shaheed Minar, the National Mausoleum and the Parliament cannot be displayed in advertising any product.
“We have numbers of objections against the policy [advertisement chapter] that we want to discuss with the independent commission after it is formed,” said Ramendu Majumder, president of Bangladesh advertising agency association (BAAA).
Most of the association's suggestions have been left out in the policy, he told The Daily Star.
According to the policy, television and radio stations cannot incorporate, directly or indirectly, [any image of or reference to] Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujbur Rahman and other national leaders, the liberation war, the language movement, the mass upsurge and the National Independence Day in any commercially oriented advertisement. It is to retain the dignity of such venerable figures and significant historical events, it says.
Professional advice and identity of doctors and dentists cannot be used in advertising any medicine or healthcare product unless those are directed to raise awareness about AIDS, diarrhea, dengue etc. or about the consequences of drug abuse and acid violence.
Many commercial advertisements relating to health and sexual products will not be allowed to be broadcast as per the policy. Most of the private television channels currently run such advertisements during off-pick hour to earn revenue.
BAAA said it opposes several guidelines strongly including those of taking clearance certificates from concerned authorities and having permission to use any copyrighted song.
“We also oppose the mandatory showing of BSTI standard certificates in broadcasting advertisements of BSTI-enlisted products and mandatory use of neutrinos and food values of the food and beverage products with superimposed image,” said the BAAA president.
"It seems our hands and legs have been tied and we have nothing to do," said Partha Pratim Chaudhury, managing director of artistry advertising ltd.
“We fear serious negative impact on our business because it will be very tough for us to cope with the policy and customers' demands at the same time. The customers too have their say about how they want their product to be advertised,” he added.
The government issued a gazette on the broadcast policy on August 6 after the cabinet approved it which prohibits broadcasting of any news that may compromise state security or taint the image of the armed forces and law enforcers. It also directs television talk-shows not to air 'false and confusing' comments.
The Information Ministry will be in charge of implementing the policy until an independent broadcast commission is formed.
Journalist leaders and media experts have called on the government to form an independent broadcast commission to implement the policy. They fear the government will misuse the policy in the name of maintaining standard of news, programmes and advertisements in the electronic media.
Some private television channels have also expressed their concerns over the advertisement policy fearing that their revenue might decline sharply due to this.
Advertisement Manager of Desh TV Rana Sinha said private television channels which mostly depend on the advertisement revenue would be affected badly.sfdgchsdgfchj