RTV

Background

RTV is a television channel owned by Bengal Media Corporation, which began transmission in 2007. 

RTV’s license was initially given to Mosaddeq Ali. He sold the ownership to a controversial multilevel marketing company called Jubok for Tk 30 crore. But only 56 percent of the shares worth Tk 18 crore were given, according to Hossain Al Masum, who was the executive director of Jubok. During the army-backed caretaker government, the ownership of Jubok was handed over to the family of Morshed Alam of the Bengal Group without any payment. Morshed Alam is a lawmaker from the ruling Awami League. According to Prothom Alo’s report, Hussein Al Masum stated that Morshed Alam offered a compromise in exchange for Tk 10 crore, but they rejected it.

In another development, the Awami League government handed out several licenses for several private television channels in 2013 at the end of its tenure. The latest channel given license on political consideration was Channel 52. The license was given to the wife of Baharuddin Khelon, son of late Awami League leader Abdul Malek Ukil. And the Bengal Group provided him financial support. The Bengal Group now owns RTV.

Baharuddin was the Deputy Director (Message) of BTV. It is assumed that he did not have the financial means to run a TV channel and precluded from receiving a license for being a government official. Reportedly, Baharuddin brought the Bengal Group as a financier. He formed a company called ‘Bengal Television Channel Limited’. On October 1, 2013, the Ministry of Information gave the license Channel 52 in the name of this company. Baharuddin’s expatriate wife is the chairman of the channel. And Morshed Alam is the managing director (MD) of the Bengal Group. When contacted, both Morshed Alam and Baharuddin verified this information to Prothom Alo.

In October 2019, RTV organized a workshop jointly with the US embassy in Dhaka on “Indo-Pacific Strategy: An Overview for Journalists”. RTV also initiated a talent hunt in 2017 jointly with India-based company Dabur in Bangladesh. The competition was known as “RTV-DaburVatika Campus Star.”

Ownership and key individuals

RTV is currently owned by Awami League lawmaker Morshed Alam who is the chairman of the television channel. He is also the chairman of Bengal Windsor Thermoplastics Ltd.

Other business affiliations of the owner are Bengal Polymer Wares Limited, Bengal Plastic Industries Ltd., Bengal Adhesive & Chemical Products Ltd., Bengal Overseas Corporation Ltd., Romania Food & Beverage Ltd., Bengal Poly & Paper Sacks Ltd., Bengal Concept and Holdings Ltd., Poly Cord Industries Ltd., Bengal Corrugated Carton Industries Ltd., Bengal Spinning & Weaving Ltd., Bengal Hyper Market Ltd., Bengal Windsor Thermoplastics Ltd., Bengal Teletech Ltd., Bengal Plastic Pipes Ltd., Hamilton Metal Corp. Ltd., Power Utility Bangladesh Ltd., Rahmania Biscuits & Bread Industries Ltd., Bengal Agro Estate Ltd.

The Group holds shares in Mercantile Bank Ltd., National Life Insurance Company Ltd., National Finance Ltd., Desh General Insurance Co. Ltd., United Hospital Limited., and Peoples University.

Mutual Trust Bank Limited was granted the mandate by Bengal Hotel & Resorts Ltd to finance their upcoming hotel project in Gulshan 1, opposite to Hatirjheel. The hotel named Swissotel Dhaka will be the first Swissotel in Bangladesh. Both the bank and the hotel are owned by Bengal Group. Bengal Group signed a deal with the International Finance Corporation and the Netherlands Development Finance Company to borrow US$36 million (approximately Tk 295 crore) to found the hotel. Mutual Trust Bank Limited acts as the lead arranger of the foreign loan.

Morshed Alam, MP is the chairman at Bengal Media Corp. Ltd and National Television Ltd. He is also the chairman at Bengal Windsor Thermoplastics Ltd., chairman and Managing Director at Bengal Group of Industries, chairman of Bengal Adhesive & Chemical Products Ltd, Bengal Cement Co. Ltd., Bengal Concept & Holdings Ltd., Bengal Corrugated Carton Industries Ltd., Bengal Feed & Fisheries Ltd., Bengal Flexipak Ltd., Bengal Hotels & Resorts Ltd., Bengal Marbles Ltd., Bengal Media Corp. Ltd., Bengal Melamine Ltd., Bengal Overseas Corp. Ltd., Bengal Petrochem & Synthetic Textiles Ltd., Bengal Plastic Pipes Ltd., Bengal Poly & Paper Sack Ltd., Bengal Poly Pack Ltd., Bengal Polymer Wares Ltd., Bengal Renewable Energy Ltd., Bengal Retails Ltd., Bengal Television Ltd., Bengal Tyres Ltd., Designer Fashion Ltd., Designer Jeans Ltd., Euphoria Apparels Ltd., Hamilton Metal Corp. Ltd., Hamilton Mold & Engineering Ltd., Linnex Electronics Bangladesh Ltd., Linnex Technologies Ltd., National Life Insurance Co. Ltd., Poly Cord Ltd., Power Utility Bangladesh Ltd., Romania Food & Beverage Ltd. and Bengal Plastic Industries Ltd. He is on the board of directors at Mercantile Bank Ltd., Desh General Insurance Co. Ltd., The People’s University of Bangladesh and United Hospital Ltd. He was previously employed as a chairman by National Life Insurance Co. Ltd. He also served on the board at National Housing Finance and Investments Ltd

Md. Jashim Uddin is the vice Chairman at Bengal Group. Jashim Uddin joined the Board as Director in 1980. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business. He holds the position of President at the Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers & Exporters Association. He also serves as a Director of Desh General Insurance Company Ltd., and sponsor shareholder of Meghna Bank Ltd.

Humayun Kabir (Bablu) is a director of  Bengal Group. He joined the Board of Directors in 1997. He graduated from California State University, Los Angeles in Production and Operation Management.

Bilkis Nahar is a Director of  the Bengal Group. She joined the Board of Directors in 1980 and holds senior positions in a number of entities within the Bengal Group of Industries.

Firoz Alam is a  Director of  the Bengal Group. He is acting as the Managing Director of Bengal FlexiPak Limited and carries out the management of the entire business venture and various affairs of the Company. Firoz Alam joined the Board in 1998 and also holds senior positions in a number of entities within the Bengal Group of Industries. He received his BS in Business Administration from Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Shamsul Alam is aDirector of the Bengal Group. He joined the Board in 1995. He is the Managing Director of Bengal Adhesive and Chemical Products Ltd. and also serves as the Director of Zenith Islami Life Insurance Limited.

Saiful Alam is a Director of the Bengal Group. He joined the Board in 2003 after completing his Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Dhaka. He oversees the construction projects of the Group.

Asfar Khair is the Vice Chairman of the Bengal Group Limited. Executive Chairman, Bengal Communications Limited. Executive Chairman, Nationwide Media Limited. After completing higher education from UK, Khair worked in various capacities in different concerns of Bengal Group. He joined satellite channel distribution and cable TV distribution business of Bengal Group in 2004.

Sources

Bengal Group of Industries, “Board of Directors”, https://www.bengalgroup.com/board.php

Mutual Trust Bank Ltd., “MTB granted Mandate of USD 50 Million to finance the First Swissôtel in Bangladesh by Bengal Group”, https://www.mutualtrustbank.com/news/mtb-granted-mandate-of-usd-50-million-to-finance-the-first-swissotel-in-bangladesh-by-bengal-group/

US Embassy in Bangladesh, “RTV-VOA Workshop for Journalists on “Indo-Pacific Strategy: An Overview for Journalists””, October 7, 2019, https://bd.usembassy.gov/rtv-voa-workshop-for-journalists-on-indo-pacific-strategy-an-overview-for-journalists/

The Daily Sun, “Grand Finale of RTV-DaburVatika Campus Star held”, July 18, 2017, https://www.daily-sun.com/post/241547/Grand-Finale-of-RTVDaburVatika-Campus-Star-held-

Syed Ashik Rahman, “About me”, https://syedashikrahman.com/about-me/

The Daily Sun, “We must protect television industry: Syed Ashik”, August 11, 2019, https://www.daily-sun.com/printversion/details/414724/We-must-protect-television-industry:-Syed-Ashik-

The Daily Star, “Bengal Group gets $36m from IFC, Dutch govt for luxury hotel”, September 19, 2017, https://www.thedailystar.net/business/bengal-group-gets-36m-ifc-dutch-govt-luxury-hotel-1469203

ফখরুল ইসলাম, বেসরকারি টেলিভিশনের রাজনৈতিক লাইসেন্স, 20 October 2013.

Prothom Alo, “বিএনপির আমলের ১০টি চ্যানেল”, 20 October 2013.