“The balance between clean feed and digitalisation will benefit all stakeholders,” said Babu, managing director of Ekattor TV.

Regarding the blackout of foreign TV channels in the last few days, he said that the decision was taken by cable operators, not the government.

Cable Operators Association of Bangladesh (COAB) have shown interest in holding dialogue with the government over the matter, Babu further said.

Mobile courts started operating from 1 October under the direction of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to implement ad-free or clean feed broadcasting of foreign channels in accordance with Cable Network Operation Act 2006.

However, cable operators have halted broadcast of foreign satellite channels from the same day as a response.

Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists and Dhaka Union of Journalists also welcomed information minister Hasan Mahmud’s insistence on ad-free (clean-feed) broadcasting of foreign TV channels.

In two separate statements on Saturday, BFUJ president Mollah Jalal, secretary general Abdul Majid and DUJ president Quddus Afrad and general secretary Sajjad Alam Khan Tapu said the country’s economy, art and culture, and media industry have been affected for a long time due to broadcasting of foreign TV channels with advertisements.

Meanwhile, information minister Hasan Mahmud on Saturday said the government did not shut any foreign TV channel.

“The agents of foreign channels and operators have stopped broadcast as they failed to air advertisement-free programmes. There’s no restriction on broadcasting foreign channels that are giving clean feed,” he said.

The minister said this while talking to newspersons at Chattogram Shilpakala Academy after attending a symposium on prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s birthday.

“Foreign TV channels have been airing progammes in Bangladesh over the years ignoring our law. Every year the country is losing around Tk 20 billion (2000 crore) worth investment because of the broadcast of foreign channels with advertisements,” he said.

Both the foreign channels and the local operators must abide by the country’s law to broadcast clean feed, said the minister.

It was decided that the law would be enforced from 1 October after a meeting with the agents of foreign channels, cable operators and owners of local TV channels. Mobile courts are being conducted accordingly, he said.