Channel S Logo
|Launched||16 December 2004|
|Owned by||Chs.Tv Limited|
|Picture format||4:3 (576i, SDTV)|
|Slogan||Working for the community|
|Language||Bengali, Sylheti, English|
|Broadcast area||United Kingdom, Europe, Bangladesh|
|Sister channel(s)||Channel S (Bangladesh)|
|Astra 2F||12581 V 22000 5/6|
Channel S is a UK-based, free-to-air television channel targeting the British Bangladeshi community. The channel was established on 16 December 2004, by Mahee Ferdous Jalill – a Bangladeshi businessman in London. On Sky it had a timesharing deal with ATN Global, and then in 2005 it started to broadcast for 24 hours, 7 days a week, and is currently available on Sky channel 814. The channel claims to be the "Voice of British Bangladeshis across the world", and its slogan "Working for the community", broadcasting mainly in Bengali and occasionally in Sylheti, and programs suiting the community needs.
The television station is based at Prestige House in Walthamstow, North East London. It broadcasts programmes in Bengali, Sylheti and a few in English. It is the first Bangladeshi channel to broadcast content in the Sylheti dialect, it has built up a loyal following among the Bangladeshis in the United Kingdom who the majority come from Sylhet. Since the launch of the channel in 2004, there has been bitter rivalry between Channel S and Bangla TV, with Channel S gaining rights to broadcast the Baishakhi Mela. A survey in the UK found Channel S was the most viewed Bengali TV channel in the UK.
On 16 December 2004, Channel S started to broadcast on Sky with a timesharing deal with ATN Global on channel 827. It was founded by a Bangladeshi businessmen based in London, Mahee Ferdous Jalil, who is also the owner of the car insurance company Prestige Auto Group.
In March 2005, it moved to its own EPG channel 837 and started broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and then moved to channel 814.
From 15 January 2006, it aired its programmes in Bangladesh and other countries of South Asia, South East Asia and Middle East From August 2006, Channel S acquired the rights to broadcast two of Bangladesh's prominent satellite channels, NTV (Bangladesh) and ATN Bangla. These are also available on Sky channels 826 and 827 respectively (a few months later it had stopped broadcasting NTV, which became independent from Channel S).
On October 2008, it acquired the rights to broadcast a popular Bangladeshi channel called, Channel i on channel 826. In May 2007, Channel S launch Islam4U – a channel dedicated to Islamic programmes (has stopped broadcasting since).
Channel S provides viewers with a combination of cultural, political and religious programs for the viewers, including shows which help the community with legal or community issues. News is broadcast daily, with news coverage of national news and international news, the main headline and political situation in Bangladesh and the latest news headlines in Britain. Local and community news are also broadcast from correspondents throughout the UK, including a news programme dedicated to news coverage from Sylhet, there is a live bulletin at 7:00 pm and full news broadcast at 10:30 pm and 1:00 am, news coverage is of Bengali. The channel has increasingly been providing programs in Sylheti, which is the first channel to do so, the abbreviation of the channel's name S, refers to Sylhet. It recognises that Sylheti is a separate language than Bengali, targeting the majority Sylheti-speaking community.
Talk show programmes include, Obhimoth (English: Opinion) – focusing on events of politics in Bangladesh, during the 2008 Bangladesh election it has broadcast the process by viewing the voters and the communities opinions on the elections, in the electoral constituencies of Sylhet, Habiganj, Maulvi Bazar and Sunamganj (Voter Matthe). Let's Talk – hosted by Ajmal Masroor is a programme debating about current and religious affairs. As it claims to be the voice of the community, it provides people with advice concerning on legal issues, programs include Legal Advice and community-based issues such as Reality with Mahee. Subjects include all community-based issues, including social, business, or contemporary, bringing solutions to problems.
In September 2014 Channel S launched their new talk show for a teenage audience 3G Preview which is a buildup show to Channel S's tenth anniversary blockbuster 3G Boss sponsored by Canary Wharf Group. The show has had notable guests such as ex apprentice stars Syed Ahmed and Zeeshan Shah. The show is aired fortnightly, presented by Zahin Ahmed.
There are many Bengali entertainment programs with Bengali music, drama and shows, including Sylheti drama which are produced in Sylhet and some from east London. Popular entertainment shows include iRonniee (a programme interviewing notable music-songwriters), and music shows of folk, poetry by leading artists in the UK or Bangladesh, these include Sure Sure Alap, Shudhu Binodan, Sur Jolsha and Matir Sur. A new game show launched in February 2008, called 'Win A Car', offers people to win a Mercedes C-class, which 'specifically targerts the British Bangladeshi community', and has been described as the first entertainment programme in a 'Sylheti Bangla way'. Since 2005, it has gained the rights to broadcast the Baishakhi Mela annually. Previously the rights were held by Bangla TV, however its commitment to the community has attracted many local business and advertisement to Channel S. In 2009, it was the joint media partner with BBC Asian Network, alongside the Tower Hamlets council.
Channel S is one of the first Bengali channels which are committed to broadcasting Islamic-oriented programs. Islamic programs are shown quite frequently. These include programs such as Islam Essentials – a live religious talk show which provides viewers the opportunity to ask questions relating to Islam based on every day life which features Sheikh Abdul Rahman Madani and Quraner Alo (teaching on how to read the Qur'an). Nasheeds (religious songs) are shown daily. Channel S has planned to launch a channel called Islam4U, which is a 24-hour channel Islamic channel in Bengali, which however has not started broadcasting.
There are many charity events for Islamic institutes on Channel S. In 2006 and 2007 during Ramadan, the British Bangladeshi community donated millions of pounds on live appeals. It then led to Channel S in 2007 creating a fundraising initiative called, the "Ramadan Family Commitment", which was the channels first concept based scheme. It raised £146,138 in 2007 and was distributed amongst 28 organisations, there were 30 charity appeals, one during each night of Ramadan, and "Qurbani Family Commitment", created to make the distribution of Qurbani during Eid more easier for the Muslim community in the UK, and for Bangladesh. Organisations which are affiliated with the organisations are Islamic Relief, Muslim Aid and Hefazothe Islam UK. During Ramadan, Channel S has also raised fundraising events for mosques and madrasses across the UK (e.g. East London Mosque), and created its first Ramadan Guide in 2008 which was distributed in the communities. As of 2008 Channel S has raised up to £7.5 million for 65 mosques, 17 madrasses and 35 other charity events. It is organised by the Channel S Charity Department, and presented by Rizwan Hussain.
Channel S also launched a new charity programme with Muslim Aid, called "Shahjalal & Shahporan Village", which is dedicated to raising money to build villages for victims of Cylone Cidr in Bangladesh. Muslim Aid has hosted live appeals on Channel S, alongside with Islam Channel. With Muslim Aid, it has managed to raise up to over £200,000 from the community, in support of those who were affected by Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh. A football tournament was part of the fundraising initiative called the SSV Charity Champions Cup 2008, consisting of 32 teams, aiming to bring Bangladeshi footballers together across different towns from London, Oldham and Birmingham. The event was held from 5 May to 6 July 2008, and was won by Bromley By Bow FC in the finals at Mile End Stadium, east London. The aim of the fundraising event is to build two villages which are called Shahjalal & Shahporan, with each receiving 360 built houses, including schools, medical centres and mosques, and aims to raise up to £720,000.
There are also other various shows available for all other viewers. Programme Bits n Bytes is an IT show specifically targeting people who use computers for business or home use. It helps viewers with problems relating to computer software or systems, and develop the skills of using IT. It provides the latest IT news, software solutions and offers. It also gives the viewers an opportunity to participate in competitions, and win technology products or software such as an iPhone or an Arabic learning software provided by Purple-i. It is the only IT weekly programme within the South Asian Broadcasting Industry in the UK, presented in English and Sylheti.
Viewers also have the opportunity to view their village or town in Bangladesh, by calling and requesting on programmes such as Amar Gao, there are many recorded videos of villages across the region of Sylhet. There are also shows available for women and children, for example Mojar Ranna (a cooking show) and It's Our Day (entertainment for children).
In June 2007, First Solution Money Transfer, a financial services company run by at least one the managing directors of Channel S went into liquidation owing the public hundreds of thousands of pounds. Mahee Ferdous Jalil, the chairman of Channel S, filed for an injunction against Bangla TV to prevent allegations of impropriety by Channel S or its chairman from being broadcast as well as defamations cases against a number of prominent businessmen who had made the allegations.
As of April 2008, Channel S (including other Bengali channels) was under investigation by Ofcom for a breach of the Communications Act 2003, after airing election adverts for the Liberal Democrats during the London mayoral election, 2008. The channel accepted adverts from the local Liberal Democrats candidate, Jalal Rajonuddin. Ofcom found Channel S guilty of breaching the TV Advertising Code.
On 4 August 2008, according to the City of London police, Mahee Ferdous Jalil (Mohammed Ferdhaus) founder of the channel (along with many others) was found guilty, at Croydon Crown Court, of car insurance fraud and sentenced to an 18 months prison term. The group were involved in a plot to make false car insurance claims and were ordered to pay compensation costs to the AXA insurance company. Since the arrest of Jalil, a media war broke out with Channel S and Bangla TV. It was noted that Bangla TV broadcast negative news coverage against Jalil and Channel S, leading to propaganda and different speculations of the event. It raised much concern among the community and politicians, which many thought was an attack against Channel S by Bangla TV. He was released after serving 7 months of his term, as he appeared at the Channel S Community Awards on 30 March 2009. It is now confirmed that Jalil has pleaded guilty for insurance scam and is awaiting sentence. This will be the 2nd time Jalil will be in Her Majesty's pleasure. He has already served 7 months of his 15 months sentence for insurance fraud.
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