It’s all about AL camp on BTV, Betar!
Bangladesh Television and Betar have mostly covered the campaign by the candidates of ruling Awami League and its alliance partners, a news analysis suggests.
The two state-run electronic media outlets dedicated 90 per cent of their times broadcasting the news items of electioneering by the ruling camp, according to the analysis of their coverage between 22 and 26 December.
Analysing the BTV’s telecasting of news on parliamentary elections amounting to 120 minutes in its news session at 8pm during the five-day period, Prothom Alo found that the AL-led grand allianace was given a total of 101 minutes compared to a meagre two minutes and 10 seconds spent on covering the Bangladesh Natonalist Party (BNP) and Jatiya Oikya Front. The rest was used for other stories on elections.
However, both BTV and Betar censored news coverage of the ruling alliacne whenever an issue or any disclosure went against the ruling camp, concluded the analysis.
Betar broadcast election-related news for 51 minutes at 8:30pm during these five days. It presented the AL camp 37 minutes and 13 seconds of positive coverage whereas the opposition coalition’s share of coverage was two minutes and 50 seconds.
“It’s totally unfair. BTV and Betar shouldn’t have given priority to any party,” said Sharmeen Murshid, chief executive officer of election monitoring non-government organisation Brotee.
Economist and former adviser to the caretaker government, Hossain Zillur Rahman said it is a proof that there was no level playing election field as the news of the ruling party was given priority when the opposition was ignored.
Information minister Hasanul Haq Inu said the news of the Oikya Front was getting less priority as they were not carrying out electioneering. “The activities of the Oikya Front are mysterious,” he told Prothom Alo.
About the information minister’s remark, Hossain Zillur said the mystery of absence of the opposition in the coverage was “behind the non-level playing election field”.