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Suspending Frontline Talks Show sends wrong signals

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NEWS report in a national English daily on Monday said the private television channel Bangla Vision authority has suspended the airing of its popular live talks show 'Frontline' without notice. Hosted by Daily Manabzamin chief editor Motiur Rahman Chowdhury, the talks show which was based on participation of noted politicians, journalists and civil society representatives and window participation of viewers started five years back and would mainly deal with burning contemporary political issues. The newspaper report said the management of the TV station notified the host of the programme on Sunday saying it is a temporary decision due to 'technical problems' and all live programme would remain off the air for the time being.   The Frontline talks show was in the air thrice in a week at prime time evening and the news report said the decision for suspension of the programme may be part of a reported government pressure on some private televisions not to invite some speakers to the talks shows and also to change some talks show hosts. Obviously it puts out a wrong message.  As we see the news came with deep frustration to TV viewers who would find the popular talks show as highly valuable to know the state of the nation and the people and politics now dominating the society. We know that the government could have felt uncomfortable with the programme on many occasions, but suppressing unacceptable views does not help the government. It is the round. Such different views on a matter of debate would help to think if there is any substance or not in it. Besides, the government is a in a stronger position to confront a lie by explaining its position. What is important to note that in such talks shows usually more than one person takes part. So invariably other points of view also get publicity.The programmes' continuation could also say a lot about the government tolerance towards dissenting views.Short of stopping a popular TV programme there are other ways available to the government.Throttling public debate and public discussion about public affairs is seen as weakness of the government and not strength.No government has to fear information even it is misleading. The truth always prevails. The best way for the government is to face lies with truth.We can see the situation is difficult for the government but suppressing free debate on television giving both sides to say what they have to say cannot be helpful. When both way terrorism is going in the country, it is not a good idea to stop both way free discussions.The crisis is whether the government should accept the demand for mid-term election or not, it is more important to know what arguments both sides have.Nowhere political leadership survived in a democracy by denying the people free flow of information. No democratic government  gains by stopping free debate on public affairs.We shall urge the government not to ban TV  talks shows denying people's to know all sides of a controversy.  What is most important information is not terrorism to be afraid of.

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