Press Statement/25 June 2023
BJIM raises concerns about sudden shutdowns of two social media-based news outfits
The Bangladeshi Journalists in International Media (BJIM) is raising stern concerns about the sudden shutdown of two Chittagong-based news outfits running operations mainly on social media platforms.
The port city civil administration on Sunday closed down the offices of Cplustv and C Vision, confiscating their equipment, claiming the stations were “illegally operating without licenses for all these years”.
Hugely popular with their regular news content, especially with running Chittagonian commentaries, both outfits were operating on YouTube and Facebook and claiming to be regularly paying taxes and VATs. Processing of licensing for such news outfits, popularly called in Bangladesh “IPTV”, has been a continuous matter of discussion over the years. Many officials and politicians also appeared in many news contents of these outfits.
During a difficult ongoing period for the local press industry with laws like the Digital Security Act breathing on the neck, such incidents will only send further damaging signals and challenging effects to the journalists.
We have seen many popular social-media-based news outfits like Buzzfeed, AJ+, NowThis, and Vice Media uninterruptedly running their operations. Dhaka should also uphold the spirit of the free press in the time of global digitalisation.
We strongly demand an immediate, fair, and scrutinised investigation into these shutdowns and request the authorities support the Freedom of the Press by doing the right deed.
We also strongly urge the authorities to financially look after all staff members of these news outfits ergo they do not find themselves in an economic quagmire just before the Eid al-Adha.
On behalf of all BJIM members.
SAM JAHAN, Convener, BJIM &
Faisal Mahmud, Member Secretary, BJIM