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Cablegate: The Importance of Being Bangla: Quick Bangla Translation

VZCZCXRO4345
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDBU RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHGI RUEHJS RUEHKUK RUEHLH
RUEHPW RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKA #0848 2420622
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 300622Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9379
INFO RUCNISL/ISLAMIC COLLECTIVE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS DHAKA 000848

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/INSB AND SCA/PPD
STATE FOR IIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PREL KISL BG
SUBJECT: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING BANGLA: QUICK BANGLA TRANSLATION
BRINGS PRESIDENT'S RAMADAN MESSAGE TO MILLIONS

REF: DHAKA 579

1. Summary: President Obama's Ramadan message received extensive
coverage in the local media. The White House's Bangla translation
ensured timely dissemination of the message immediately before the
start of Ramadan. Seven local television stations broadcasting to
40 percent of Bangladesh's 150 million-plus citizens aired news
reports about the President's message. In addition, 11 newspapers
with a combined daily readership of three million delivered the
message. As was the case for the President's Cairo speech (reftel),
President Obama's Ramadan message reverberated in this moderate,
Muslim-majority nation. Amplifying the President's message in
Bangla directly to the world's fourth most populous Muslim nation is
one of the most effective ways imaginable to advance key bilateral
and multilateral goals. End summary.

Bangla in Broadcast
------------------------

2. The President's Ramadan message reached Dhaka after the beginning
of Bangladesh's weekend. However, since the White House had
translated the message in Bangla, the Embassy was able to quickly
disseminate the message widely to the media. All major newspapers
and television stations received copies of the President's remarks,
in English and Bangla, as well as links to White House website for
video imagery. That day, seven cable/satellite channels broadcast
all or portions of the President's message during their daily news
programs. We estimate that about 40 percent of the population,
approximately 60 million people, had access to these news
broadcasts.

Bangla in Print
-------------------

3. In addition to television, 11 major daily newspapers published
the message as news in their August 23 editions. The combined
circulation of those papers is over 1.1 million copies per day. As
each copy is generally read by 3-4 people, we project the newspaper
articles reached at least 3 million people. Print media plays a
particularly important role in Bangladesh. Mission Dhaka translates
material into Bangla extensively for placement. White House
translation accelerated the process significantly and broadened U.S.
reach to Bangla speakers outside Bangladesh.

Bangla in New Media
---------------------------

4. Besides traditional media, the Embassy quickly posted the
message, along with links to other Ramadan material from
America.gov, on the Embassy's website and new Facebook
(www.facebook.com/bangladesh.usembassy) pages. The website receives
between 3,000-4,000 hits per day. Our Facebook page, though only
launched three weeks ago, already has more than 400 fans. Despite
low overall internet penetration, new media play an important role
in informing the views of decision makers in Bangladesh, who relay
these via other media. To date, all the comments on the Facebook
page are positive.

Comment
-------------

5. President Obama is rock-star popular in Bangladesh. The wide
broadcast and publication of his Ramadan message reflects this, a
trend we expect to continue and offer a powerful channel for the
U.S. to reach Bangladeshis. As important as the President's message
itself was the immediate release of a Bangla translation, a language
spoken by more than 140 million Muslims in Bangladesh and 230
million worldwide. In reaching millions of Bangladeshis, the
President's message demonstrated that the United States is truly
interested in building bonds with Muslims around the world. We hope
that all Washington agencies will continue to recognize that Bangla
should be one of the standard languages for U.S. messages geared
towards the Muslim world.

MORIARTY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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