Desh TV

Background

Desh TV is a business concern of the Mediascene Limited. It started broadcasting on March 26, 2009. Former BNP MP Mushfiqur Rahman was given the license of Desh TV. Later, Awami League MP Saber Hossain Chowdhury bought most of the shares. DeshTV is an affiliate of Voice of America in Bangladesh and it also has a licensing agreement with VOA.

Ownership and Key Individuals

Saber Hossain Chowdhury is the managing director of Karnaphuli Group. He is a member of the ruling party, the Awami League. Currently, he is serving his fourth term as a parliamentarian.

Saber Hossain Chowdhury is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and holds a Joint Honors degree in Economics and Politics. He also received a Diploma in Law from the University of Westminster, UK.

Starting his career as an entrepreneur and running businesses in Bangladesh and Singapore, Mr Chowdhury opted for active political engagement in 1996. During 1999-2001 he served as the Deputy Minister for Ministry of Port and Shipping and thereafter as the Deputy Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives. Now, he chairs the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

Saber Hossain Chowdhury is actively engaged in various international forums. He was elected as the president of the International Parliamentary Union in 2014 for a 3-year term. In 2018, he was appointed to Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation’s (GPEDC) Business Leaders Caucus as the representative of Bangladesh. Saber Hossain Chowdhury received the ‘Order of Friendship,’ Russia’s highest state award, in 2017. The award statement said: “The Order was presented for a major contribution to the development of inter-parliamentary ties, consolidation of cooperation and mutual understanding between the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.” He was awarded ‘Friendship Order,’ a service award of the Government of Vietnam, in 2018. The Award is conferred on foreigners who make ‘contributions towards building, consolidating and developing the friendship between Vietnam and other countries in the world.’

Tarik Sujat is a director for Desh TV. He is the Managing Director of Mediascene Ltd. that publishes BhorerKagoj and DeenerSheshey. Karnaphuli Limited has a controlling interestin Mediascene Ltd. Sujatreceived MSS in Political Science from University of Dhaka in 1990, BA from University of Dhaka in 1987.

He is also a poet. His father, TofazzolHissain, was a veteran journalist, a participant of the language movement in 1952, and poet.  His other business affiliations are: CEO JOURNEYMAN—an interior & graphic design company, Managing Director of i-infomedia Ltd., and Ambient Media BD., Managing Partner Journeyman-Riddhi Consortium (Architecture & Interior Design), Director of Bay Leasing and Investment Ltd., Director Desh Television Limited, Chairman of Cantib Limited, proprietor One Stop Printshop—Offset Printing Press.

Arif Hasan is the Deputy Managing Director of the television channel. In 2016, Arif Hasan became member secretary of Media Unity, a newly formed platform of producers, professionals and officials of private TV channels. In 2017, he was elected as the Vice President of ATCO (Association of Television Channel Owners). He is the chairman of Hasan Telecom.

Sadeq Hossain Chowdhury is director of the television channel. He is the brother of Saber Hossain Chowdhury. He obtained his BSc in engineering Degree from the University of London and MBA from University of Aston, UK. His business affiliations include: Managing Director of Multidrive Limited, Multidrive Electronics, Motordrive Industries Ltd, Travelscene Ltd. He is also a director of K&T Logistics Ltd., Regensea Lines Ltd., and Terminal Services Ltd., Finvest Services Ltd. and British Motors Bangladesh Ltd.

Firoz U Haider is a Director of the television. He is a banking professional. He served in various capacities in different national and international financial institutions in South East Asia. His business affiliations include: Chairman of GSP Finance Ltd. and SF Haider Foundation Ltd. He is also the director of Republic Insurance Company Ltd where Saber Hossain Chowdhury and Sadeq Hossain Chowdhury are directors.

Gazi Golam Dastagir MP is a Director. He is a Bangladesh Awami League politician and the present Member of Parliament from Narayanganj-1. He graduated from the University of Dhaka in 1968 and is the president of Bangladesh-China Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He is also the vice chairman of Gazi TV and the Chairman of Gazi Group. He is a recipient of Bir Protik, the fourth highest gallantry award in Bangladesh. In January 2019, he was elected as the Minister of Textiles and Jute. His business affiliations are: Founding Chairman of Gazi Group that include Gazi Tank, Gazi Rubber Plantations, Gazi Renewable Energy, Gazi Infrastructure Development, Gazi TV, Sarabangla.net—an online news portal. He was a former Director of Jamuna Bank.

Legal Cases

The Anti-Corruption Commission seized Arif Hasan’s bank accounts and issued travel ban in 2019. Arif Hasan is one of the directors and Deputy Managing Director of Desh TV. He is reported to have made a fortune in Canada by smuggling money abroad, as well as amassing huge wealth anonymously. This information has come out in the investigation of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) which claimed that Arif bought a house in Toronto for 3.7 million Canadian dollars. He was also accused of loan fraud of Tk 335 crore.

Source

Desh TV, “Vision and Mission”, https://www.desh.tv/knowing-us

Karnaphuli, “Management”, https://www.karnaphuli.com/management

Karnaphuli, “Areas of Activity”, http://www.karnaphuli.com/areas-of-activities/media-and-publishing

Republic Insurance Company, “Board of Directors”, https://www.riclbd.com/BoardofDirectors.html#

Dipu Sarwar, “দেশটিভিরপরিচালকআরিফহাসানেরকানাডায়বাড়ি, অঢেলসম্পদ”, Bangla Tribune, February 11, 2020, https://www.banglatribune.com/others/news/608953

The Business Standard, “Tk335cr scam rattles National Bank”, March 11, 2020, https://www.tbsnews.net/economy/banking/tk335cr-scam-rattles-national-bank-49951

Daily Asian Age, “ACC seizes Desh TV DMD Arif Hasan’s bank accounts, issues travel ban”, November 20, 2019, https://dailyasianage.com/news/205949/acc-seizes-desh-tv-dmd-arif-hasans-bank-accounts-issues-travel-ban

Our Time BD, “Arif Hasan’s corruption “a mess” both in Canada and B’desh”, February 16, 2020, http://www.ourtimebd.com/beta/2020/02/16/arif-hasans-corruption-a-mess-both-in-canada-and-bdesh/

The Daily Star, “Russia honours Saber Hossain Chowdhury with ‘Order of Friendship’”, October 15, 2017 https://www.thedailystar.net/politics/russia-honours-inter-parliamentary-union-ipu-president-saber-hossain-chowdhury-with-order-of-friendship-highest-state-decoration-1476733