Bangladesh Television (BTV)

Bangladesh Television (BTV) is the state-run television chain in Bangladesh. It began operations in 1964 as Pakistan Television, operating in a territory that was back then known as East Pakistan. When Bangladesh won its independence, it was renamed Bangladesh Television. BTV runs a channel with nationwide coverage and a regional station based in Chittagong as well as Sangsad Television, the channel that airs the activities of the parliament. In 2004, BTV launched its worldwide channel BTV World.

Media assets

Television: BTV, BTV World, BTV Chattogram, Sangsad Television

State Media Matrix Typology: State-Controlled (SC)

Ownership and governance

BTV is a state-owned broadcast organization whose management is appointed by the government. BTV is directly accountable to the Ministry of Information, which is the station’s budget holder.

Source of funding and budget

BTV has been subsidized by the government for a long period of time. Decades ago the station used to generate advertising that accounted for 90% of the total budget, but the competition from commercial players reduced significantly that source of revenue. For years, the station also used revenue from license fees (a fee imposed on all the country’s households) to fund its operations. However, that was not sufficient to cover the costs of the broadcaster. Hence, the government has been heavily subsidizing the station in the past several years, paying all the salaries of the BTV’s staff.

Editorial independence

BTV is a state-controlled media outlet, with editorial rules imposed on it by the government. On its website, the outlet states that it “represents” the government. The station, according to local experts and journalists, has a mission to serve the government, never airing any programs that criticize the political party in power.

No domestic statute and no independent assessment or oversight mechanism to validate BTV’s editorial independence have been identified.

September 2023