Jamuna TV shutdown order valid
The High Court yesterday in a verdict justified the government decision to cancel the allocation of frequency to Jamuna Television (JTV) and stop its test transmission.
The court, however, directed the government to expeditiously dispose of the application submitted by the JTV authorities seeking a fresh no objection certificate (NOC) for a licence to run the channel.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) authorities on November 19 last year halted transmission and allocation of frequency to JTV on charge of running its operation without having any licence and NOC.
JTV, a private satellite television channel, went on test transmission on October 15 last year.
Managing Director of JTV Shamim Islam on September 8, 2009 submitted an application to the information ministry for NOC which is now pending with the ministry.
An HC bench of Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain and Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore came up with the verdict after disposing of a writ petition filed by JTV authorities challenging the government action.
The court observed that the BTRC stopped the test transmission of Jamuna Television in accordance with law since it was running its operation without any licence and NOC.
The information ministry lawfully asked the BTRC to cancel the allocation of frequency to the television channel, it said adding that the BTRC is bound to comply with the order of the ministry as per the rules of law.
It said Jamuna Television authorities obtained the NOC certificate from the information ministry in 2002 to run the channel for five years, but the tenure of the NOC expired in 2007.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam yesterday afternoon told reporters at his office that the HC upheld all the actions of the government and the BTRC on the closure of Jamuna television.
Principal counsel for the petitioner barrister Rafique-ul Huq said the fate of JTV is now hanging in the balance as the HC has neither rejected the petition nor accepted it.
Another lawyer for the petitioner Ahsanul Karim told The Daily Star that they had not got instruction from their client about filing an appeal with the Supreme Court challenging the HC verdict.
There is a scope to move an appeal with the apex court against the HC verdict, he said.
Barrister Khandaker Reza-e-Raquib, a legal adviser of BTRC, told The Daily Star that the JTV authorities now have to get a licence from the telecommunication ministry to run the transmission.
It has not only to obtain the NOC and another licence from the information ministry it has also to get the allocation of frequency from the BTRC before it goes on air, he added.