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Social Change and the Development of Private Television Channels in

Bangladesh

Atiqur Rahman
Associate Professor
Department of Communication and Journalism
University of Chittagong
Bangladesh
Email: atiquectgu@cu.ac.bd
Abstract Commented [LO1]: I suggest you try to expand the
abstract to 100-200 words
This study will apply a political economy theoretical approach to investigate the socio-economic Deleted: Influenced by political economy of the media t
Deleted: aspects of
and political changes in Bangladesh (in the television industry since the year 2000?). Two key
Deleted: that fulfilled t
aspects will be investigated: firstly, the formation of a vast diverse audience group and secondly, Deleted: most important prerequisites,

the emergence of a small but strong capitalist class., for the development of a handsome? number Commented [LO2]: I suggest using a different word to
handsome
of commercial private television channels in the country. Commented [LO3]: I suggest you try to integrate this
information earlier in the abstract.

Rationale: Deleted: during the early part of this century

Coupling? with technological advancement and capital flow global media is flourishing during the

age of globalization. Television is central to the current? media revolution. With the demise of Commented [LO4]: Try to rework this sentence so the
meaning is clear
communism, increasing integration of world markets, and rapid advances in communication Deleted: in the heart of the ongoing

technology, South Asian media has grown dramatically? (Page & Crawley, 2001, p. 21). Deleted: also have experienced a big leap

Bangladesh is no exception in this regard. In 1989, the number of print media establishments in Deleted: For example, i
Deleted:
Bangladesh was 562, rising to 1181 in 1992 (Ministry of Information, 1994, p. 9). This increasing
Commented [LO5]: Are there any more recent statistics
on this? How do you know that this trend has continued- I
tendency of media users maintained in the following years. According to the First National Mass suggest you provide a reference

Media Survey (1995), the rate of radio uses was 36 per cent, television 31 per cent, newspaper and Deleted: that rose to
Commented [LO6]: Try to be clearer here about what is
magazine 11 per cent and cinema 12 per cent; but in 2002 it increased to 61 per cent for television, being referred to- do these statistics refer to the
composition of the industry?
34 per cent for radio, 26 per cent for newspaper and 17 per cent for cinema (Khan, 2003). In fact, Deleted: of

the first decade of the millennium experienced most spectacular growth of television uses. During
Commented [LO7]: Are you referring to the first decade of
the new millennium? Can you be more specific about the
this period, the rate of watching television in rural Bangladesh increased from 24% to 67% and year range of the period i.e. 2000-2015?

69% to 91% in urban areas (AC Nielson, 2011). The number of TV channels has also increased Deleted: has
Deleted: N
from?. There was only one state-owned television until 1992; in 2017 there are at least 30 Commented [LO8]: Please try to insert some numbers
with a reference
domestic and 40 foreign channels transmitting programs for Bangladeshi viewers (Rahman & Deleted: a lot

Alam, 2013). Sales of television sets are increasing by 10 percent annually (Parvez, 2010). Most Deleted: Though
Deleted: t
importantly, the flow of advertisements, the life line of commercial television, is increasing Deleted: ,
Deleted: started in 1997 nowadays
Deleted: are
gradually (Akter, 2012& Rahman, 2010). In sum, with the vigorous growth of private TV channels, Commented [LO9]: How do you know- is there any data
on this that you can cite?
Bangladesh has experienced a television revolution during last fifteen years. Deleted: one and a half decade

Research on private TV channels in Bangladesh is currently limited. In most cases, television has Deleted: However, r
Deleted: of
been analyzed in terms of discrete issues. Rahman (2016), Rahman and Alam (2013), Khan (2013),
Deleted:
Huq (2011) and Rahman (2009) have focused on socio-economic and political perspectives, yet Deleted: not satisfactory enough
Deleted: of the
this is not enough to get the complete picture of the television industry in Bangladesh. Two Deleted: only

industry stakeholders, the audience and owners, associated socio-economic and cultural factors Deleted: as
Deleted: a
have not been investigated adequately in existing literature in this area. But this phenomenon needs Deleted: Though, some research was conducted by
Deleted: focusing
to be scrutinized on a broader canvas in terms of changes in Bangladesh economy, society, culture
Deleted: scenario
and politics during the post-90s era. Deleted: television world
Deleted: most important
Deleted: of the industry and
Deleted: were not
Deleted: most of the works
Insert a topic sentence for this paragraph For example, there is huge shift of employment mode
Deleted: of
during the last three decades. Almost 10 million expatriate laborers have created a new social class

of whom every single member of their family, and gradually their kin and neighbors, have become

a prime audience of television. Can you insert some socio-economic information here about TV

audience members in Bangladesh? In fact, this unskilled and semi-skilled expatriate laborer class

has introduced television in rural and semi-urban Bangladesh by bringing televisions and video

cassette players when they have visited abroad. Deleted: player


Deleted: used to get back from

Some developments in the countrys economic sphere has resulted in a new economic order Deleted: of the country

replacing the countrys vast agricultural establishments and traditional cultural heritage. For

example, privately-owned garment manufacturing industries started to develop from late 1980s.

Now approximately five million workers, mostly from rural and agrarian establishments, are

employed in these industries forming a new social category rooted in non-urban air staying in urban
condition (reference needed). Other economic sectors have also increased momentum. During the Deleted: of economy
Deleted: got
last two decades, service sector workers have increased up to 15 million. The countrys middle
Deleted: also

class is also expanding from 8% in the year 1991/92 to 19% in 2010 (Sen, 2014). These factors Deleted: the number of countrys
Deleted: C
have reshaped the social structure of Bangladesh and contributed to the development of an optimum Deleted: ;
Deleted: All these have played orchestrated role in
audience size for the television industry because changes in the economic system and employment
Deleted: ing
mode impact directly on people living standard and style. Consequently, real spending on Deleted: . B
Deleted: ed
consumption has increased a lot. Growth of commodity and service consumption has ultimately
Deleted: Consequently

resulted in the expansion of the advertisement market the prerequisite for the survival of Deleted:

commercial television channels.

On the other hand, during the post-1990 era, like other parts of the globe, capital accumulation and

private sector investment has increased in Bangladesh. For example, actual Foreign Direct Deleted: got huge momentum
Deleted: society
Investment in 2001 was $355 million dollars that turned to $1086 million dollar in 2008; local

private investment in the 2001-02 financial year was BDT. 88060 million of that turned to BDT Commented [LO10]: Please use the full name rather than
the acronym
39,9760 million up to March 2010-11; in fact, 79 per cent of countrys total investment is in the Deleted: FY

private sector (Ministry of Finance, 2011, pp. 206-12). Along with this, foreign aid and loans have Deleted: mentionable size of
Deleted: got
been given to Bangladesh from friendly countries. In 2001, the amount of foreign aid and loans
Deleted: into

totaled $1,369 million dollars jumping to $ 2,217 million dollars in 2009-10 (Ministry of Finance, Deleted: loan
Deleted: was
2011, p. 46). The huge money flow has led to the development of a small but strong capitalist class Deleted: that
Deleted: ed
in the society. For instance, Bangladesh Bank statistics show the number of millionaires (at least
Deleted: Consequence of
BDT 10 million) in 1975 was only 47 which turned into 23,130 by 2010 (Kaler Kantho: 2010). Deleted: in the society resulted in
Deleted: a

Therefore, the development of television in Bangladesh from both an audience and owner Deleted: s
Deleted: , just five hundred times higher
perspective must be contextualized within the socio-economic transformation of the society in Deleted: !
Deleted: it is necessary to discuss
terms of changes in employment and production mode, labour migration, urbanization, capital
Deleted: s where
growth, private sector investment, state policy. However, this study will focus on the following Deleted: caused by the
Deleted: etc. will get optimum importance
issues:
a) The socio-economic, especially post-90s era changes that contributed to the formation of Deleted: ,

an audience class suitable for the subsistence of advertisement dependent dozens of local

private television channels; and

b) Factors that motivated the capitalist class to invest in television channels.

Theoretical Framework

A political-economy approach is a holistic and historical approach that deals with factors like the Deleted:
Deleted: s
history of social changes, relations between social organs, e.g. social class and economic and
Deleted: ,
political organizations (Golding & Murdock, 2000). Moreover, it critically investigates the power Deleted: this research will follow this school.

relationships among audience, producers, and distributors from local level to global perspective;

and socio-economic as well as political aspirations of media (Mosco, 1996; Garnham, 1995). Media

analysis from a political economy perspective especially concentrates on four historical processes:

the growth of the media, the extension of corporate reach, commodification, and the changing role

of the state and government (Golding & Murdock, 2000). Deleted: as well as

Political economy pundits describe contemporary capitalistic processes as intrinsically involved Deleted: to be

with media growth where the commercial media system is necessary for selling goods and services

controlled by national and trans-national corporations. The prime function of the entire media

system is to produce an audience the potential consumer class. In the prevailing market-media

relationship, audiences are a principal commodity (Mosco, 1996, p. 12) in the mass media.

Alternatively, with the means of advertising and sponsorship, corporations also shape the cultural Deleted: On the other hand

stance of media stations largely (Golding & Murdock, 2000). Political economy scholars such as Deleted: to a great extent

who?? (insert one or two references) also argue that the capitalist class utilizes media, sometimes

with the help of the state, for their own benefit. The media tends to fix the discourses of the society Deleted: M

and control peoples perception from different dimensions. Conversely, the media maintain Deleted: also
systematic relationships with power lobby for its own economic necessity and reciprocity of interest Commented [LO11]: I suggest you reconsider this phrase-
can you clarify what you mean?
that keep the existing socio-political order unperturbed along with ensuring profit maximization for

the media owners (Herman & Chomsky, 1988; Hall, 1989).

Over the last few decades, especially in the age of globalization, along with local and regional

markets of commodity, media markets also develop and join with both national and global markets

of goods and services. This media market is no exception either and they also work to develop a

weak political culture and to promote a consumerist attitude among audience members to satiate

the big capital hunger (Herman & Chomsky, 1988; Bagdikian, 1995, Herman & McChesney,

1997).

Like other media, television was introduced as an essential tool for national development. However, Deleted: But

frequently it is used for commercial purposes. Media experts like Kellner (1990) and Schiller Deleted: in most of the cases
Deleted: predominantly
(1995) argue that television never tries to change fundamental political or economic structures and
Deleted: or

institutions; rather, it works as the strongest ideological and commercial arms of the capitalist Deleted: ,
Deleted: ,
system by providing powerful tools for selling the values as well as lifestyles of corporate

capitalism. All over the world private television channels are owned by business tycoons to serve Deleted: In fact, a
Deleted: mostly
their bigger socio-economic and political interests. For example, in the post-cold war Russia,

members of a new elite class have invested in the television industry to gain political influence and

mold Russian society in a capitalistic mode. This has enabled them to bargain with the government, Deleted: that

both politically and economically, and ensured pro-business and free-market culture along with

increasing profits of the television stations as well as their other concerns (McNair, 2000).

The above discussion shows that in recent times throughout the world media is an effective tool for

profit maximization. Now media closely connects economic and political processes from the local Deleted: is
Deleted: connected
level to the global. Therefore, as a burgeoning industry, the status of television in a developing
Deleted: with

country like Bangladesh is immensely research worthy. Deleted: as well as


Methodology:

This research will follow a qualitative method as its data collection and analysis tool as it intends

to examine a particular phenomenon with a holistic view and will analyze and interpret data

critically in doing so.

Socio-economic data from various secondary sources will be analysed. This socio-economic data Deleted: In searching the answer of the first question that is
audience formation process in Bangladesh society we will
includes reports on employment mode, migration of the labour force, industrial growth, concentrate on s

consumption behaviour, annual contribution of different sectors in GDP, urban growth, changes in

purchasing capacity and real spending of general people, annual import list, annual list of luxury

commodities, per capita growth etc. Data will also be collected from books, operational manuals,

statistical yearbooks, articles, reviews, newspapers, websites, journal articles etc. Specialized data Deleted: For
Deleted: s
will be requested from the Bureau of Statistics, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Commerce,
Deleted: we will contact with

Ministry of Manpower Exportation, and Ministry of Information. In some cases, I will also collect Deleted: cases
Deleted: we
data from the scholarly works of both government and non-government research organizations. I
Deleted: We

will critically analyze documentary data from government reports, policies, rules and regulations

that facilitated the changing process of the society.

For investigating the motivations of the capitalist class to invest in the television industry, I will Deleted: that motivated
Deleted: we
look for secondary data like previous research, newspaper reports, scholarly articles, etc. Apart

from this, I will also collect primary data by conducting discussion and semi-structured in-depth Deleted: we

interview of different stakeholders of television industry. In this regard, a purposive sampling Commented [LO12]: If you intend to conduct interviews
you need to devote a paragraph here to it- be specific in
method will be used to interview private television channel owners, policy makers, social worker, terms of the types of interviews that will be conducted, how
will they be conducted, how many people, how long will the
interviews go for and so on.
business persons, journalists, media pundits and so on.
Commented [LO13]: Why social workers?
Commented [LO14]: Is it necessary to interview all of
these different types of people? I suggest you consider the
kind of information that they may be able to provide.
Deleted: The outcomes of the qualitative analysis will be
complemented by rigorous verbal discussions.
Conclusion:

During the post-1990s period of reinstalled parliamentary democracy and a deregulatory economic

system in Bangladesh, television channels started to get private ownership for the first time

apparently responding to peoples thirst for information. Following the propagation of the

progressive sections of the society, especially the advocates of democracy, that a vibrant media

system will resist all untoward threats to democracy, television was expected to play the role of

watch-dog. Moreover, with the advent of satellite television and consequently the juggernaut flow

of foreign culture people tend to believe that for the existence of local culture Bangladeshi

television channels could be a remedy and consequently private channels came to the scenario.

However, within one decade of commencement its role in the society came under severe criticism

and the holy notes on television smeared by criticism to be thoroughly profit-oriented, generally

entertainment-based, and tamed by the power structure. But investigation into the process of its

audience development and necessary investment as well as aspiration of media owners can answer

the question why private TV channels could not fulfill the expectation. It also will reveal whether

launching local channels was a capricious step of the policy planners or it was inevitable on the

context of changes the state and society of Bangladesh embraced during its journey towards

globalization. However, not only Bangladesh, successful completion of this study will surely shed

light on the nature of ongoing television revolution in the developing world.

References:

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http://infoasaid.org/guide/bangladesh/media-overview/. Accessed on 14th June, 2013.


Akter, S. (2012, September 07). Spending on radio ads on the rise. The Daily Star, p. B1.

Bagdikian, B. (1995). The Media Monopoly. London: Beacon Press.

Garnham, N. (1995). Contribution to a Political Economy of Mass Communication. In O. Boyd-

Barrett & C. Newbold (Eds.), Approaches to Media: A Reader (pp. 216-221). London: Arnold.

Golding, P., & Murdock, G. (2000). Culture, Communications and Political Economy. In J. Curran

& M. Gurevitch (Eds.), Mass Media and Society (3rd ed., pp. 70-92). London: Arnold.

Hall, S. (1989). Ideology and Communication Theory. In B. Dervin, L. Grossberg, B. OKeefe, &

E. Wartella (Eds.), Rethinking Communication Theory (Vol. 1, pp. 40-52). Newbury Park, CA:

Sage.

Herman, E. S., & Chomsky, N. (1988). Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass

Media. New York, NY: Pantheon Books. P. xiv-xv.

Huq, F. (2011). Selling Audience: The Role of Media in Creating Consumer Culture in Bangladesh.

Media Asia, 38(4), 200-204.

Kellner, D. (1990). Television and the Crisis of Democracy (pp. 71-132). Boulder, CO: Westview

Press.

Khan, M. A. R. (2013). Private Television Ownership in Bangladesh: A Critical Qualitative

Inquiry. Unpublished PhD Dissertation. University of Hong Kong.

Khan, N. I. (Ed.). (2003). Bangladesh Media Directory Maddhyam-2004 (p. 7). Dhaka: BCDJC.

KalerKantho(2010, August 14).Teishhajar bank hishabdharikotipoti [23 Thousands Bank Account

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McNair, B. (2000). Power, profit, corruption, and lies: The Russian media in the 1990s. In J. Curran

& M.Park (Eds.), De-Westernizing Media Studies (pp. 79-94). New York: Routledge.

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