DHAKA – Bangladesh has banned “Doraemon” from TV screens over fears that youngsters who are hooked on the Hindi-dubbed version of the animated series are struggling to learn their native Bengali.
Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu told Parliament last Thursday that television channels showing “Doraemon” had been sent official notifications ordering them to cancel the series.
“The government doesn’t want children’s educational atmosphere to be hampered by ‘Doraemon,’ ” the minister said.
The ban came after several newspapers called for a ban on the cartoon, worried that its young fans were speaking Hindi to each other instead of Bengali.
Shahriar Alam, a ruling party lawmaker, demanded earlier last week that TV stations should only be allowed to air foreign cartoons if they are dubbed in Bengali.
Created by Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko under the name Fujiko F. Fujio, the series of manga and later “anime” revolves around the robotic cat Doraemon, who has traveled in time from the 22nd century to aid a boy named Nobita.
The Foreign Ministry appointed Doraemon as its first “anime ambassador” in 2008 to deepen foreign interest in Japanese culture.
Bangladesh is particularly sensitive about the cultural influence of its giant neighbor India.
Millions of households prefer to watch Hindi-language television beamed in via satellite.