Impact of Sky Culture
Subject: Modern Civilization | Topics:

Introduction : 

Sky culture is a popular culture in Bangladesh. This assignment describes the impacts of sky culture on the people of Bangladesh. Very simply, we know sky culture is the culture that comes through and received from sky with the help of orbitting satellite. Radio and TV-the two instruments of different nature used for receiving sky culture, affects the people in various way. At first, I have tried to give a simple idea about sky culture. Then I have tried to study the impacts of both Radio and cable TV. The conclusion suggests that sky culture has both negative and positive impacts.

What is Sky Culture:

J.R. Domenick in his book “The Dynamics of Mass Communication: Media in the Digital Age” defines culture as- “The common values, behaviors, attitudes and beliefs that bind a society together”

Overall, culture that comes through sky, for the purpose, satellite technology is needed to throw culture of other countries on air. So, actually age of sky culture or age of satellite began from 4 October, 1957, when for the first time, the USSR launched man-made satellite sputnik-1.

So very simply, sky culture means the foreign culture that comes from other countries through sky with the help of orbitting satellite.

People in Bangladesh enjoy sky culture using Radio and cable TV.

Impact of satellite Radio:

Radio began its journey on 16 December, 1939, in Bangladesh. When various international radio channels started broadcasting with the development of satellite technology, mainly from mid 1960’s, people in Bangladesh started to listen satellite Radio Channels. The then satellite Radio listeners were mostly middle class riches at least.

According to DFP sources, in 1996-97 there were 5 lac 76 thousand Radio sets in the country. The Information Ministry assumes now there are about 7 lac Radio sets in the country. At least 5 lac 50 thousand Radio holders in Bangladesh listen to international Radio channels like British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Voice of America (VOA), Radio china International, Deutsche well (DW), Radio France International, Radio Tehran International and so on in their households.

Radio listeners can tune in dozens of foreign short-wave and digital satellite radio stations.
Satellite Radio affects them in various ways, mentioned below.

Satellite Radio users get news and information from international satellite channels. In a survey it was found that 90% people in Bangladesh have access to satellite Radio, half of them are regular Radio listeners. About all of the regular Radio listeners rely on satellite Radio channels for current information, as they did during 2003 Iraq War. More over, they enjoy commentary, light features, Radio call-in-shows. Providing news and information, satellite Radio make them conscious.

More then half of regular Radio listener in Bangladesh enjoy entertainment programs through satellite Radio for example, they enjoy Hindi, English, Persian, Dutch, Spanish songs. They can enjoy song of ‘Devdas’, ‘Titanic’, film sitting in Bangladesh. Satellite Radio channels helped popularize different kinds of music band of different nations like ‘Rock and Roll, Reggae, Rap’ and various eminent singer like ‘Ricky Martin’, ‘Britni Spiars’, ‘Adnan Sami’. They enjoy livecast of sports instantly from the playground through satellite Radio. As a result, foreign culture made a home in Bangladesh. Usually young people enjoy entertainment programs more than the elderly people.

Satellite Radio provides education programs regarding language, health, human rights, child rights, environment and so many other issues. Many satellite Radio listeners developed their skill in foreign language, became conscious about health and democratic rights.

The ways in which an individual comes to adopt the behavior and values of a society are Socialization Process. Satellite Radio plays an important role in socialization providing information, education, amusing programs for all age group.

Satellite Radio may broadcast propaganda. Common people are easily affected by such propaganda. During 2003 Iraq aggression, Anglo-American assertion about Iraq’s possession of ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ (WMD) may be cited as propaganda. Because they failed to prove their assertion. Many satellite Radio listeners alleged BBC, VOA broadcasted Anglo-American bias news during 2003 Iraq War.

Impact of satellite TV (Cable TV):

Bangladesh television started its Journey in 1964. From 1980’s, talking ware being held to be linked with “Direct Broadcast satellite” (DBS) system. It is a system in which a home TV set can receive signals directly from an orbitting satellite.

In 29 September 1992, Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia formally inaugurated satellite TV broadcasting. From that time, common people began to view sky culture permitted officially.

According to DFP source, in 1997 there were 2 lac 44 thousand licensed TV sets in the country. The authority assumed the actual number would be about 4 lac TV sets. Information ministry assumes now there are more then 5 lac TV sets in the country, of which only 3 lac TV sets are licensed. Information ministry assumes there are one crore regular satellite TV viewers. Since, paying a little money people can get easily cable TV conjunction, the total number of regular and occasional satellite TV viewers will be several crore. About 5 crore people have access to the cable TV. So they are affected in various ways mentioned below.

Cable TV is the most important entertainment medium for all age group people among those have access to satellite TV channels. It affected the choice of entertainment and cultural taste of the people in Bangladesh.

The young age group seems to be most influenced. They have begun to follow foreign culture including clothing, hairstyle fashion, attitude. Most of the young age group, who regular view satellite TV, don’t like Rabindra Giti, Nazrul Giti or classical music, but like modern band music and modern song. The rest answered they honour and like classic music along with modern band and jazz music. Obviously, sky culture has changed the choice and taste of our traditional culture among young age group.

Children are highly affected by ideas, advertisement aiming at them. More then two-third children, among those who view cable TV regularly, think alcohol just like another soft drink as they see on the cable TV. They like to enjoy “cartoon programs” than listening ‘folk tales’ from older people.

Our middle age group people are seriously affected. They have begun to widely believe in and practice ‘nuclear family’ idea than traditional joint family. They seem to be more conscious about family planning, health, reproduction, merits and demerits of small family and education. It is clear that sky culture help them to be progressive.

Old people also like to view and enjoy sky culture. Most of the old people who view satellite TV spend comparatively more time viewing cable TV. In most cases their clothing and attitude does not portray that they are so much affected. But who knows they would not expose their feelings if they had chance and favorable environment in Bangladesh. Probably, they can’t expose because of rather conservative social environment in Bangladesh.

Sky culture shape, mould and alter attitude and norms of behavior. Children, who view cable TV, in most cases believe that women are more generous, as they see on cable TV. Most of them like to spend more time with mother then their father. Most of them like to see women as nurse, but as doctor they choice both men and women. They like to put on dress, to speak in the style they see in programs on cable TV. Many children know huge Hindi vocabulary, though they never read Hindi, only seeing Cable TV. Many guardians alleged their children are reluctant to study and they want to enjoy cable TV all the time. So their study is being harmed.

Among young group their attitude perception and norms are profoundly influenced. Most of them answered they believe in ‘free sex’, some of them admitted that they have enjoyed sex, in most cases with their classmates and with cousins.

Middle age group are profoundly affected by sky culture, Most of them believe in ‘right to live together, free sex and nuclear family’. Many of them have started practicing idea of nuclear family and in some extent the concept of “live together”.

It is hardly found that attitude of old people has altered affected by sky culture. But they have become more liberal and practical in culture practice.

Cable TV broadcasts many education programs. It provides current information and educate people, cable TV affects at least in some extent on education skill and IQ. Thus an individual comes to know and in many case to adopt the behavior and values of a society. So cable TV play important role in Bangladesh in socialization process if we see that from wider perspective.

Impact of cable TV upon men and women seems to be little bit different. Men usually like to have hard news, see sports; enjoy adventurous, thriller and violence oriented movies; to see office programs; reports on seminar. On the other hand, in most case, women like to see beauty programs, fashion-show, romantic movies.

Most of ‘housewives’ like to spend their leisure period after household works viewing cable TV. They like mostly music programs, movies and films, beauty program, and household relating programs. A large portion of regular satellite TV viewers are housewives.

The higher class people of the society expose their feelings more frequently. Their daily life style is profoundly affected by sky culture. Young members of higher class families put on short, Jeans, T-shirts frequently. Higher class people mostly rely on cable TV for current news. Most of them have begun to adopt and follow concepts of so called western modernism like ‘right to free sex and live together’, nuclear family concept. Most of them think our traditional culture obsolete, backdated and like modern foreign culture such as Jazz music, band music. Among the members of higher class families, the young seem to be most influenced.

Middle class people are the highest in number among satellite TV viewers. They seem to be moderate in adopting and practicing sky culture. In most cases, middle class people of the society like to enjoy sky culture, but they don’t seem to be bored with traditional culture of the country. They highly depend on cable TV for current news. Because, they think cable TV provides neutral reports at least in some extent, since these channels are not controlled by the government directly. Middle class family widely adopting some modern idea like nuclear family in recent years. Comparatively young members of middle class families seem to support the concept of ‘live together’ or ‘right to free sex’, although they are not practicing these ideas widely.

Along with these, middle class families seem to become more conscious about human rights and ecofriendly development.

Worker class people have less access to cable TV. Some worker class people in urban area, in suburb area and developed places of rural area like in Bazars, Markets, Ganj, have access to satellite TV channels, they like to enjoy films, movies, sports mostly.

Infact, lower class people including workers in factory, garments, industry, rickshawpullars, drivers and daily workers of both urban and rural area have less limited access to cable TV. So they are less affected comparatively or they don’t have favorable environment to expose their feelings.

Sky culture has loosened our social relations and social ties of affection and amity in some extent. Common people used to go to neighbour’s and relatives’ house, and gossip. But, recently people seem to reluctant to visit neighbour’s house. Rather they like to enjoy programs on cable TV in their leisure period.

Cable TV affected and has changed the choice of study field among students. Students are becoming eager to study on vocational, computer, Business oriented subjects, and science and technology oriented fields tham traditional fields. Many students want to study abroad.

Religious belief among public has been influenced by sky culture. Cable TV highlights the modesty and generosity of religion, cites religious tolerance and thus try to make believe people to be moderate, flexible in religion belief. Cable TV news and reports mention religious tolerance and modesty of people in Bangladesh and thus encourage them not to be rigid or extreme. It affects the common people in great extent. So Bangladesh is known as a ‘moderate muslim country.’

Ideological impact of cable TV is much significant. More than 90% adult people in Bangladesh like and support democracy as the government system, voter presence of the two last general elections is Bangladesh was much more higher than even the United States of America. Cable TV broadcasts news reports favoring democracy and encourage and help the people to strengthen their support to democracy.

Cable TV can play in agenda building and agenda setting. Cable TV channel has the ability to choose and emphasize certain topic, thereby causing people to perceive the issue as important. They often do it. For example, cable TV channels helped setting ‘arsenic pollution and mitigation’, ‘price rise of daily commodities’, ‘rather delicate law and order system’, among important agenda.

Ethnic tolerance may be affected. Cable TV programs highlights ethnic fraternity and tolerance. Thus , people in Bangladesh are affected to show ethnic tolerance, peaceful ethnic co-existence.

Antisocial activities may heavily influenced by sky culture. Satellite TV over represents violent crimes such as murder, rape, armed robbery. So many people assume the world to be full of violent crimes.

Recently, researchers have noted a connection between heavy viewing of violence program on cable TV and favourable attitude toward the use of violence and aggressive behaviour in real life among children and young.

Sexual sequence, obscenity and pornography viewed on cable TV make people pungent, passionate and wrathful about sex, woman and life style. Traditional culture in Bangladesh is conservative type, which encourage sexual privacy and secrecy. People have begun to like sky culture consciously or unconsciously because it is much more open about sex.

Sometimes cable TV spreads rumour and propaganda. They may inform the people wrong information. As a result people may anger, fierce, and agitate. Very recently Indian ‘Tara Bangla’ satellite channel reported that professor Dr. Humayun Azad died in CMH. People and students became anger. They came out on highway and started to protest. Some students were wounded in student-police rift.

But it was a rumour infact, Immediately BTV reported live news showing Prime Minister Khalada Zia went to see Dr. Azad and Dr. Azad was alive.

Often cable TV channels, particularly Indian TV channels report that Bangladesh provides shelter for the anti Indians or terrorists who aim to harm India. They also alleged that Bangladesh is becoming a land of radical Muslims (ie. Al-Quaeda). Infact, all these are propaganda. Thus cable TV may hamper public image.


This is the age of information technology. Satellite technology is the annihilator of time and space. More then 35 years ago media guru Marshal Mcluhan Predicted that world would turn into a global village. Mcluhan’s prophecy has come true. Because, as a result of satellite technology, national boundaries are becoming blurry. Sky culture is a significant consequence of satellite technology.

Sky culture does a lot of good thing. It provides current news and information, entertainment, live broadcast of sports. It helps people in education and socialization process. It approaches to teach tolerance and modesty in ideology and religious belief. It can help in agenda building and agenda setting, make conscious about environment, health. It may conscious and aware people about global fraternity and global citizenship.

Sky culture does a great deal of harms also. It may cause moral degradation. It may loosen our social ties of amity. Since sky culture is much more open about sex, sexual scenery and pornography, people of Bangladesh living in rather conservative society emphasizing sexual privacy and secrecy, seem to bias to foreign culture, consciously or unconsciously, sky culture may spread rumour and propaganda, thus sky culture may harm public image and economy. Sky culture is encouraging and causing ‘brain drain’ at least in some extent.

It is clear sky culture has both positive and negative impacts. Possibly survey data and observations alone are not sufficient to establish cause-and-effect relationship. Sky culture is essential in the modern age of information technology. But, on the other hand, sky culture seems to penetrate and threaten our thousand years’ tradition and culture and thus seem to play a role of so-called cultural imperialism. So it should be brought under control as far as it is possible, but must not be closed as a panacea. It will be best if the people adopt the good sides excluding the worse sides.

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