“Because of the influence of satellite TV channels youths of our country are gradually exposed to western values and modes of life. They are blindly following their ways of life. In this way western customs and values are creating profound impacts, specially, on our youths. Instead of following our own age-old customs, traditions, beliefs and social values they are blindly running after western culture. Our age-old culture carries no value to them. So our traditional culture is losing its own identity.
We have a long tradition of an enriched culture. Historically our culture is indispensable for our everyday life. But it is a matter of sorrow that with the passage of time it has been found decadent. Gradually we are moving away from traditional norms and customs which is really a shameful matter. And this is happening because of the foreign satellite channels. Seeing the foreign cultures through dish antenna, especially our young generation is being misguided and is forgetting their own culture. A survey shows that changes in behaviour, day-to-day lifestyle, dress-up, fashion, career plan etc. have been observed among youths due to exposure to foreign TV channels. Youths, particularly teenagers who are exposed to the international satellite channels with a huge number of violence through household cable connections, are posing serious threats to our culture and tradition.
Because of the influence of satellite TV channels youths of our country are gradually exposed to western values and modes of life. They are blindly following their ways of life. In this way western customs and values are creating profound impacts, specially, on our youths. Instead of following our own age-old customs, traditions, beliefs and social values they are blindly running after western culture. Our age-old culture carries no value to them. So our traditional culture is losing its own identity. People are practicing western modes of behaviour in their everyday life. We notice such changes in dress patterns, food habits, entertainments, social and moral values and attitudes towards life. Many people find these changes as the direct influence of satellite telecasting. Moreover youngsters forget about their studies and spend a lot of time for watching TV.
These satellite channels are destroying the creativity of the youngsters and guiding them in the wrong way as people are more interested in watching the fashion shows and music shows and very few people watch education-related programs in TV. So, satellite telecasting poses a big threat to our rich cultural heritage. In order to avert our young generation from the addiction of satellite channel and to dignify our local culture, a clear picture regarding the influence of foreign satellite TV channels on the people of our country and its consequences is required. In this case, a study conducted by me for journal writing will make the situation clear to the readers. Data were collected from five reputed private universities of Bangladesh, namely Northern University Bangladesh (NUB), University of Liberal Art (ULAB), United International University (UIU), University of Asia Pacific (UAP) and Stamford University Bangladesh (SUB).
It is found during survey that 37% young people spend around 2-3 hours for watching satellite TV channels. According to the data, 84% university-going students prefer foreign satellite TV channels. On the other hand, only 12% prefer local channels.
Again most of the youngsters watch movie from their preferred channel and its percentage is 56%. Besides, 15%, 17%, 8%, 3% and 1% prefer drama, sports, news, reality shows and talk shows perceptively. 61% students confessed during data collection that movies aired by satellite channels instigate social crimes i.e. eve-teasing, drug addiction, abduction and so on. Apart from these, they also confessed that drama telecast on foreign satellite channels cause family problem in many ways.
However long-term effects of satellite channels on the youths are beggar description. The worst thing that these channels do is nothing short of destroying the creative talent of the young people, allowing them barely any scope to think and imagine independently. Needless to say, the young generation these days is gradually exposed to western values and modes of life.
They are blindly following their ways of life. Our age-old culture carries no value to them. So our traditional culture is losing its own identity. We have a rich and distinctive culture that reflects our social norms, values, traditions, rituals and so on. But the satellite channels, by dint of cheap entertainments, are eating these up gradually. To surmise briefly, the main features with which these channels try to pull audience are: melodramatic episodes of domestic issues in families, enmity and conspiracy, gory flicks on violence and horror, exploitation of cheap sentiments, extramarital affairs and obscene scenes.
Young generation watch Satellite TV channels and try to apply those in personal life. A survey shows that 41 percent of the youths are interested to speak in Hindi at the advent of 'cultural aggression'. There is a proverb, “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” But this scenario has been changed. Due to satellite TV channels they go to sleep late night and cannot wake up timely. As a result they become late in attending classes and other activities as well. In addition to these, psychologists opine that sex, crime, terror, wrestling and some other programmes are affecting the mental health of children.
Obscene and immoral films, dramas or music, videos are influencing young generation. Indeed, violent films are often making young people aggressive and quarrelsome. These are the reasons of social devaluation and tremendous increase in the social crime in our country. Satellite TV is now being seen as a means of cultural assault on developing countries by western nations.
Satellite channels are trying to promote American life style from door to door in the world. Having an international status, English has introduced this culture to every person. No nation of the world is safe from this cultural invasion. Western customs and values are creating profound impact, specially, on our young generation. Instead of following our own age-old customs, traditions, beliefs and social values they are blindly running after western culture. Our age-old culture carries no value to them. So our traditional culture is losing its own identity. Furthermore, moral corruption which unfortunately exists in our society and the satellite provoke these immoralities and we are all indifferent to them. It is mentionable that damages done by the satellite channels are worse than any kind of bomb. These must be stopped, or else, it will put a negative impact on the whole society.
In order to avoid cultural invasion by foreign satellite TV channels the following measures might be taken:
•There should be a government committee to enforce a media policy regarding which channels can be permitted to be viewed and which should be censored. Their duties will also be to develop programmes in order to expand our own cultural values. And this is how satellite TV channels can be made to play a positive role and our national culture can be fostered and enriched.
•Some channels like Discovery, Animal Planet, National Geography, Al Jazeera, BBC, CNN telecast educational programs. Guardians should encourage their children to watch these types of channels.
•To protect society from the catastrophic effect and to protect our own rich culture we must ban those channels that air sleazy stuff. In the meantime media should convey the message about what is good and what is bad.
• Our local channels need to focus on entertainment more, which are attractive and interesting rather than telecasting merely political issues related programmes.
Last but not least, we must motivate our youths. Family and educational institutions have to play a major role in this regard.
(The writer is an Assistant Professor, Centre for General Education, Northern University Bangladesh.)