Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Sweet sessility »« Science+Poetry

Must-see TV!

Wow. Bangladesh has imposed new restrictions on what can be shown on television. These rules will certainly make for compelling viewing.

[1] Private television channels cannot run direct publicity in favor of any political party [publicity in favor of ruling party is allowed],

[2] Misleading information cannot be incorporated in any talk shows [it stops the participants of the talk shows from delivering any comment criticizing the ruling party or its activities],

[3] National ideology or characters cannot be criticized,

[4] The father of the nation [Sheikh Mujibur Rahman] cannot be criticized in any of the programs [any of his mistakes during his governance cannot be anymore mentioned in any of the programs],

[5] No individual can be criticized in the programs [this has been initiated as a number of ministers in the ruling government became subject of harsh criticism following their severe failures],

[6] No criticism will be allowed on national ideologies and goals [this law will stop the television channels from scrutinizing and criticizing any of the decisions or policies adopted by the ruling party],

[7] No defense and government information can be leaked in any of the programs on television channels [this was initiated because a number of private television channels are exposing many of the hidden actions as well as corruptions inside ministries],

[8] No program can be aired which would provoke deterioration of law and order situation [this law will stop broadcasting news and contents related to general strikes and demonstration programs of the political opponents of the ruling party. This law has been incorporated to stop the television channels from exposing corruption as well as brutality of the law enforcing agencies in the country. Especially the ruling party turned uncomfortable when the private television channels exposed the physical assault of an opposition member of the Parliament, who was mercilessly beaten by some police officers. It was disclosed by the private television channels that, those police officers were leaders of the student front of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League, during their student life. Television programs containing investigative reports on murder in custody of opposition leader and lawyer Moinuddin Ahmed [M U Ahmed] also caused anger in the minds of the ruling party leaders],

[9] No program can be broadcast against any friendly nation [this will stop Bangladeshi channels to broadcast programs criticizing Palestine, Iran and many other nations, with which Bangladesh maintains ‘friendly’ relations,

[10] Programs related to trafficking in women, forced prostitution, rape etc will be barred from broadcast under the new law. This law will also stop broadcasting investigative reports on such issues.

[11] Broadcasting ‘kiss scene’ shall be banned under the new law [this will stop all foreign television channels, especially the movie channels from being connected to Bangladeshi cable television network],

[12] No program or content on mutiny or demonstration can be broadcast on television channels [this will stop the private television channels from showing any of the contents related to massacre inside the Bangladesh Riffles Headquarters],

[13] Programs exposing the activities of criminals as well as their modus-operandi cannot be shown on any television channel,

[14] The private television channels shall be ‘bound’ to broadcast speeches of the Head of the State, Head of the government [Prime Minister], public announcements, press notes as well as any ‘program of national interest’. This law will compel the television channels in continuing to broadcast programs containing political agendas of the ruling party.

I could make a much shorter set of laws that would be much simpler.

  • Only say nice things about the ruling party.

  • No criticism of anything!

  • NO KISSING!

It’s the opposite of what I imagine PharyngulaTV would be like — that would consist of many hours of people blowing raspberries at the Chief Poopyhead, nonstop, vicious criticism of everything (even the stuff we like!), and explicit sex 24 hours a day. I’d watch it. It would be much more interesting than the snoozefest on Bangladeshi TV.

(via Butterflies and Wheels.)

Comments

  1. says

    “that would consist of many hours of people blowing raspberries at the Chief Poopyhead, nonstop, vicious criticism of everything (even the stuff we like!), and explicit sex 24 hours a day. I’d watch it.”

    It’s called Faux News and their affiliates.

  2. says

    Broadcasting ‘kiss scene’ shall be banned under the new law.

    I guess I could live with that, so long as fuck scenes aren’t banned. Or…are they?

    It’s tone trolling run amok, and indeed, what bans on “rudeness” tend toward.

    Glen Davidson

  3. MetzO'Magic says

    I’ve never seen Fight Club, but it looks like they got the idea for their #1 rule from Bangladeshi television.

  4. =8)-DX says

    “that would consist of many hours of people blowing raspberries at the Chief Poopyhead, nonstop, vicious criticism of everything (even the stuff we like!), and explicit sex 24 hours a day. I’d watch it.”

    Sounds like my previous marriage. At least the better part.

  5. Giles says

    In the circumstances Bangladeshi will not watch much tele and will go outdoors play football or ride a bike or fly a kite or go swimming, etc.

  6. rubberband says

    Sadly for the average citizen of that nation, Bangladesh gets destroyed every few years, because much of it is at or below sea level. So, it really doesn’t matter much to the U.S. what the ruling party says or does, cuz they ain’t long for this world. Pretty much everything I know about Bangladesh sux for the folks who live there.
    OTOH, North Korea really does pose some threats, and that dude is crazy and completely in control.

  7. Grim says

    Why is there no science on pharyngulaTV? I mean, I’m sure some will get worked into the criticisms and porn, but if I was watching, I would want at least an hour of primetime “cephalopods devouring things” and “hideous developmental abnormalities”.

    Both would be hosted by David Attenborough

  8. Otranreg says

    It’s ‘Good morning, Bangladesh!’

    Have you heard that absolutely nothing has happened nowhere near a city? No one has told us nothing about anything, and we’re happy to inform you so that you don’t know it either.

    And now, to the theme of today’s programme: ‘Women who do it for free and don’t kiss any genital parts while performing oral sex’.

    And while we show a clip exposing this phenomenon in close detail, our female viewers are welcome to call us and tell us about their own doing it for free while not kissing the genitals experience. Remember, every third caller will get a free ‘Long Live the Prime-Minister’ T-shirt!

    [half an hour-long programme that doesn't dispense with close-ups and hot sex interspersed with the still naked guests' conversations on what new ways to love the government they have found. There is also a 3-minute puppet-show for young patriots on 'Oral sex that follows the line of the party']
    —-

    …our next topic will be ‘Men who stimulate themselves anally while reciting the President’s latest speech’, see ya next week!

  9. says

    How did Bangladesh get hold of this? It sounds like the Tea Party’s plans for American media — after, of course, the departure of the current White House resident. It is treason to speak against the glorious United States of America,except for those relatively brief intervals when communists, Marxists, socialists, or Democrats [all the same!] are in charge. Then you can say any stupid, ignorant, or racist thing you want!

  10. IanKoro says

    Uhh… as for the comments comparing these rules to Fox… no. Fox News is sounding pretty good after reading these rules. Good… fucking… grief.

  11. Bill Gascoyne says

    Do they ban satellite dishes? I mean, Bangladesh is not that big; surely they can pick up Indian TV. Looking at a map, though, they’re not that close to anyone else that would have less censorship.

  12. Michael Swanson says

    Um, PZ? When you talk about explicit sex on Pharynula TV (or PZTV?), you’re just going to host it, right?

  13. Matt says

    The suppression of free speech is terrible, of course, but this is something else:

    “Programs related to trafficking in women, forced prostitution, rape etc will be barred from broadcast under the new law. This law will also stop broadcasting investigative reports on such issues.”

    That is wretched beyond belief.

  14. Circe says

    Do they ban satellite dishes? I mean, Bangladesh is not that big; surely they can pick up Indian TV. Looking at a map, though, they’re not that close to anyone else that would have less censorship.

    India has a very free media, seldom silly attempts at control from the government notwithstanding. None of the US media outlets thought it a news worth reporting, but over the last couple of months, revelations emerging in various Indian media outlets about large scale corruption in the telecom and other ministries fomented what was almost an unarmed revolution, with an elderly Gandhian activist called Anna Hazare sitting on a fast unto death for twelve days until the parliament passed a resolution that they would quickly move to institute an independent corruption watchdog, somewhat on the lines of the Election Commission. To the credit of the people involved the movement, though it quickly became rather popular, it was not marred by any violence.

    As for websites, have a look at this. As you can guess the authors are mostly Indian (some of them are even employed by Government Universities!) and yet write the kind of stuff that in the American context would be labelled “unpatriotic”, without any censorship. For example, many of them refer to secession of Kashmir from India as the only solution to the Kashmir issue, which is completely against the policies of the Indian government. And they don’t even use pseudonyms, in case you were wondering.

  15. Bjarni says

    Is it just me, or did the prohibition against ‘Kiss Scene’ seem like they were just against 80s rock?

    At least they didn’t say anything about banning Queen!

  16. knut7777 says

    Sounds like tv in Indonesia about 20 years ago when the business leaders of the country marched in to the generalissimo’s office to tell him if he wanted to expand the economy he needed commercial broadcasting. I went over to help one of the resulting media startups get established.

    The commercial stations (incidentally all owned by the generalissimo’s kids, nieces and nephews) filled up a lot of time with the most innocuous of western sitcoms, but I noticed if a husband made a move to give his wife a kiss, the screen went blank, a slide of the presidential palace came up, and the national anthem played.

    After the anthem finished and the country sat down the show resumed post-kiss.

    This in a country where first place the driver bringing me in from the airport showed me was the park where the bancis hung out.

  17. robro says

    2011 won’t be like 1984!

    i assume that #10, the ban on news about and investigations of women trafficking, etc, is because there’s a problem with it in Bangladesh. if Wikipedia is to be believed here

    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_Bangladesh)

    there’s a fair amount of money involved and so it’s plausible that government collusion and corruption are part of the problem. wouldn’t want a dust up over that, so take that off the air right now!

  18. Felix says

    They forgot paragraph 15. All citizens are required to watch four hours or more of television within each 24-hour cycle.

  19. godskesen says

    PZ said: “It’s the opposite of what I imagine PharyngulaTV would be like — that would consist of many hours of people blowing raspberries at the Chief Poopyhead, nonstop, vicious criticism of everything (even the stuff we like!), and explicit sex 24 hours a day. I’d watch it. It would be much more interesting than the snoozefest on Bangladeshi TV.”

    I don’t know, PZ. I would have to be molluscan sex for me. Or at least inter-phylum sex. Then I’d watch.

  20. Phoenician in a time of Romans says

    And tonight on the soap opera, “Far, Far Away”:

    In the totally fictitious African country of DashlaBeng, journalist Rajit criticises the founder of the country, Burmuji Marah, and is visited by the local secret police and arrested for his lies. Hauled into court, he puts on an hour long documentary exposing the corruption of the previous Presidents-for-life and the current party in power, which the courts have no option but to accept as true due to impeccable documentation. This is totally fictitious and in no way resembles any other nation, person, or party.

  21. ichthyic says

    so, after a year of uprisings against repressive regimes all over the middle east and Africa… what did the Bangledishi govt. learn?

    fuck.

    all.

    rise up and take your country back, Bangladesh.

  22. rad_pumpkin says

    Woohoo, censorship in a third world nation! I’m sure the glorious government of the equally glorious nation of Bangladesh realizes that for this type of repression of information to work effectively and perpetually, almost total political, societal, and economical isolation is required (think North Korea). Something tells me that a nation which loses a chunk of its infrastructure annually to natural disasters will not be able to sustain this for long. But hey, whatever makes the glorious leaders, who going by 10, 12, 13 are implicitly involved in the global sex trade happy. Hey, that’s just what I’m inferring from this press release. By all means have some of your glorious news program point out how wrong I am…

    On a side note, what the hell is wrong with kissing? Are they really THAT repressed over there?

    It’s the opposite of what I imagine PharyngulaTV would be like — that would consist of many hours of people blowing raspberries at the Chief Poopyhead, nonstop, vicious criticism of everything (even the stuff we like!), and explicit sex 24 hours a day. I’d watch it.

    Why do I get the feeling that PZ’s promise of 24/7 sex on PharyngulaTV is going to involve copious amounts of tentacles? Not that I wouldn’t watch it…

  23. Otranreg says

    @24 lexaequitas, what will it be this time: paper or plastic?

    Also, restriction #10 actually makes me feel like donning a pith helmet, bringing my old gunboat to the shores of Bengal, lubing greasing a few local mandarins’ palms and setting up a respectable sex-trafficking colonial business, turbojet intercontinental pimpmobiles and gilded chest hair brushes included.

    Hey, it’s not like anyone is going to blow any whistles, if you know what I mean.

  24. mythusmage says

    #12 and #19

    You base your statements on first hand observations and not on what anybody else said? Or am I overestimating you?

  25. David Marjanović, OM says

    over the last couple of months, revelations emerging in various Indian media outlets about large scale corruption in the telecom and other ministries

    Funny. Exactly the same thing is happening in Austria (a previous government is involved, though). Today Parliament is having a special session about this.

    On a side note, what the hell is wrong with kissing? Are they really THAT repressed over there?

    Yes! And 60 years ago, so were people in the West!!! My dad still jokes “children, leave the room/go to bed” whenever a kiss scene comes up.

  26. Moggie says

    rubberband:

    Sadly for the average citizen of that nation, Bangladesh gets destroyed every few years, because much of it is at or below sea level. So, it really doesn’t matter much to the U.S. what the ruling party says or does, cuz they ain’t long for this world. Pretty much everything I know about Bangladesh sux for the folks who live there.
    OTOH, North Korea really does pose some threats, and that dude is crazy and completely in control.

    Not everything is about the US, you know?

  27. claimthehighground says

    So I guess the half hour “Jesus and Mo” special I wanted to air will have to wait?

  28. Dianne says

    Clearly this is an attempt by internet porn providers to make TV obsolete and drive everyone into the welcoming arms (tentacles?) of the internet.

    As to PZTV, are horde members going to be the, um, actors in various programs? “The many wives of Josh enjoy each other’s company”, “OM winners uncut”, “snide fighting with Rorschah”, “Walton learns the pleasures of socialism from the horde”. Yeah, there are possibilities.

  29. qwertyuiop says

    “Programs related to trafficking in women, forced prostitution, rape etc will be barred from broadcast under the new law.”

    By itself, this would be a good law, if those programs support or condone it. But this part is telling:

    “This law will also stop broadcasting investigative reports on such issues.”

    So that means it’s a widespread problem. This would be like the catholic church banning investigations and broadcasts of such on pedophiles – because it’s full of them. Rather than solve the problem, they prefer to hide it.

  30. Timinane says

    Hopefully the commercial channels have good cricket coverage because I think that’s all that would be worth watching on Bangladesh TV after these laws. Then they can watch their elite test cricket playing side lose to everyone but Zimbabwe and think how much better they have it than Zimbabwe now all that troublesome bad news about the government has gone away.

  31. Mud says

    As a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Bangladesh, I can pretty much guarantee that this will go over like a lead balloon. The political opposition there is much more, uh, vigorous than anything I’ve ever seen here (the USA), and there’s no chance they’re going to respond to this with outraged letters to the editor. I expect general strikes in reponse to these rules, along with robust internet coverage of same.

    There was no kissing allowed on TV back when I was there (late 90s). You’d see Richard Dreyfus puckering up, and then suddenly he and the female lead are on opposite sides of the screen.

  32. says

    Reminds me of the insult laws in Turkey. I don’t know, well, anything about Bangladesh… Are they extending the insult laws from TV to their people? I suppose they couldn’t completely ban kissing, but they could ban kissing in public.

  33. juice says

    Oh, and never even bring up on TV anything that the government does, ever. It may be tough and new for them at first, but the TV stations will get used to it.

  34. pelamun says

    @23: not only did you use a pejorative term for gays in Indonesian, but you are also completely missed the point. Just because Indonesians don’t tend to kill gay men in general, that doesn’t mean that Indonesian society is particularly tolerant of them. I have gay friends in Jakarta who can’t come out to their office colleagues for fear of losing their job (this also happens in Japan and China btw).

    Question re Bangladesh about their flooding problem: what can be done about it? the Netherlands as a rich Western country has invested tons of money on dikes etc., but would something like that work there, even if they had the money?

  35. tsig says

    Rule #7, no leaking government information, could easily conflict with #14, you must broadcast speeches and other government info.

  36. Phoenician in a time of Romans says

    You’d see Richard Dreyfus puckering up, and then suddenly he and the female lead are on opposite sides of the screen.

    An entirely rational decision by any female lead.

  37. Toiletman says

    [quote]I have gay friends in Jakarta who can’t come out to their office colleagues for fear of losing their job (this also happens in Japan and China btw).[/quote]

    I have heterosexual friends in Japan, Korea and China who can’t come out of their office for fear of losing their job.
    I somehow feel I misunderstood something about your post though :D

  38. John Morales says

    Toiletman, you didn’t even get to the point of misunderstanding; for that you’d need to have half a clue as to the thrust of the comment.

    Hint: “Just because Indonesians don’t tend to kill gay men in general, that doesn’t mean that Indonesian society is particularly tolerant of them.”

  39. lurkeressa says

    15:20 Endless Thread’s Edgy Exhibitionists
    15:55 harsh criticism of cephalopods
    16:10 large cephalopods devouring harsh critics of cephalopods

  40. says

    Lauren:

    Reminds me of the insult laws in Turkey.

    Does the phrase “Adnan Oktar (i.e., ‘Harun Yahya’) is a criminal nutcase” fall afoul of any of them even though it is a statement of truth and an opinion all wrapped into one? Oktar did go to jail; the “nutcase” part is debatable, though there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence for that as well, IMHO.

  41. says

    tsig:

    Rule #7, no leaking government information, could easily conflict with #14, you must broadcast speeches and other government info.

    Not really. Rule 7 is intended to prevent broadcasters from leaking info the government doesn’t want circulated under any circumstances, especially if it could lead to criticism or political dissent; rule 14 is intended to make sure that they have to broadcast what the current Grand Poobah wants people to “know”, especially if it’s the watered-down government/ruling party pabulum you’d expect with a set of rules like this.

  42. Olav says

    This policy is so unfortunate. The “ruling party” mentioned that comes off looking like the wannabe dictatorship party is usually considered the moderate/centre-left, social democratic, liberal, secular party of Bangladesh. In theory, this should be the party of choice for PZ and most of his readership if they lived in that country. The main alternative is the rightwing, conservative, no-less authoritarian and corrupt Islamic party.

    The situation should be familiar to many readers. Two main parties/blocs, none worthy of your vote.