A notice that appeared on the channel a little before 7 p.m. Tuesday was, “We are very sorry to inform that the transmission of Channel 1 has been suspended temporarily”.
Words were spread about a possible handover of Channel 1 to a new set of owners. One of the possible buyers were Sheikh Helal, a cousin of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The action came hours after Post and Telecommunications Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju said the government had decided to shut the channel. But he denied to have any partisan motive behind the decision. In a press conference he demanded that the government has taken a rightful decision. He also said, “We did not even consider who the owner is. If we had done so, many other channels would also have been closed.”
Zia Ahmed, the chief of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission informed press that it has shut down broadcasting activities of Channel 1 Tuesday evening. The Channel was established June 1, 2005, with 400 employees and it started official broadcasting January 24, 2006.
BTRC chairman Zia Ahmed also claimed that the private television channel has handover broadcasting equipments to another entity and violated the telecoms act. But an hour before Channel 1 was taken off the air, the director of the private television operator claimed that it had given all relevant answers to the show-cause notices that BTRC had served on it. The channel's director and opposition law maker, Mazidul Islam also said that Prime Bank, who had financed the original purchase of the channel's equipment, had not in fact handed it over to any new owner following its auction.
The first news of Channel 1 closure erupted before employees of a generally run office go for lunch. It came as, a telephone call came to Channel 1 from the HQ of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) with instructions that they should start displaying ‘good-bye’ notes as the closure is soon to come.
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