Facebook Temporarily Blocked In Bangladesh

Rezwan

Rezwan

Facebook Banned In Bangladesh

Bangladesh has become the second country in Asia after Pakistan to block the entire Facebook domain in recent times. On 28th May, 2010 Friday at around 8:30 the ban was executed on charges of malicious propaganda against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and hurting religious feelings, reports [bn] blogger and journalist Biplob Rahman at MuktoMona blogging platform. However the site was still accessible via mobile (m.facebook.com).
Newspapers soon confirmed quoting high officials of Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Commission (BTRC) that Facebook was temporarily blocked.

Earlier, the BTRC had directed internet data service handlers Mango Telecom and Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd to find a way to block antisocial contents posted by Facebookers.
But the two companies failed to fix the problem, which prompted the government to block the entire prophet, said the official, asking not to be named.
The Daily Star

According to Facebook there are around 900,000 Facebook users in Bangladesh and 60% of them are aged between 18-24 years. Many netizens, like Sukanta Rai at Prothom Alo Blog had this question in mind:

ফেসবুক কি দোষ করল কেউ কি আমারে বলবা?
What did Facebook do can anybody tell me?

S. M. Mahbub Morshed at Sachalayatan informs:

বাংলাদেশের দ্বিতীয় জনপ্রিয় সাইট ফেইসবুকে হাসিনা-খালেদার ব্যাঙ্গাত্মক ছবি প্রকাশের পর মাহাবুব আলম রডিনকে গ্রেপ্তার করে র‍্যাব। এর কিছুক্ষণ পরেই বাংলাদেশ থেকে ফেইসবুক এক্সেস না করার খবর আসতে শুরু করে।
After publishing perverted images of Hasina and Khaleda (The Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition) in the second most popular site in Bangladesh Rapid Action Battalion (RAB – a special force) arrested a youth named Mahbub Alam Rodin. Bangladeshis could not access Facebook soon after that.

Chitpotang at Unheard Voices blog wonders whether a threat from some religious parties prompted the government to take this decision:

That’s the “official” eyewash. What’s the real reason? Hmm, could it have something to do with Naya Diganta and Khatme Nabuwwat, Amini, et al’s return in the form of exporting Pakistan’s Facebook ban for the Mohammed Cartoon Contest? The threats to hold a rally the day after BNP’s June rally that will be even bigger? As usual AL (Awami League) responds in only way it knows to an Islamist/Rightist threat, cave in immediately.

However Aminul Islam Sajib at Life with technology opines:

Although the BTRC is saying that the site has been blocked for hosting anti-religious and pornographic contents, I feel that the site is blocked mainly for the reason that caricatures of two political leaders were shared on the site. The government could take necessary steps to remove those contents. Instead they are blocking us for their own interest and trying to make us understand that the reason is something else (anti-religious stuffs). Don’t they know that there are over hundreds of proxies such as hidemyass.com, redfish.tk (giving you the links so that you can still access the network) to gain access to Facebook. So, why ban Facebook? Banning Facebook does not block people’s access to the site. It’s like a showdown that we have banned Facebook on grounds of being abused.

The Bangladeshi netizens are astonished and outraged by all these drama. Bloggers like and https Shahriar at Cadet College Blog are explaining how to easily circumvent the ban by using https and other web proxies. However, Aranya Anam at Amar Blog warns [bn] netizens to be cautious about using proxy sites and provides some useful links.
Haseeb at Sachalayatan names the ban [bn] as “commerce of sentiments”.
Arup Rahee at Somewherein comments:

ফেসবুক বন্ধ করা কোন সমাধান না। কেউ কোন বিষয়ে কোনখানে মতামত, সমালোচনা, ব্যঙ্গ-বিদ্রুপ ইত্যাদি করলে সেই মাধ্যমটাকেই বন্ধ করা খুব একটা কাজে যে আসে না, তা ইতিহাস বারবার প্রমান করতেছে।
The Facebook ban is not a solution. If somebody criticizes, caricatures or opines against somebody/something, banning the media is not a solution against that – it is being proven across history.

Samir Kumar Ghosh says:

আমার মতে এই উদ্যোগ টি নেয়ার আগে সরকারের একটু ভাবা উচিৎ ছিলো। সরকার যদি এসব করার ব্যাপারে সবাইকে সতর্ক করে দিতেন বা আইনের ভয় দেখাতেন তাহলে হয়তো এর চেয়ে বেশি ফল দিতো।
I think the government should have done some thinking before banning Facebook. If the government issued some alerts and some warnings – it would have been more effective.

However there were some opinions supporting the ban. Guru Bhai at Somewherein says:

যেসময় ওদের খেলার মাঠে বন্ধুদেরকে নিয়া খেলার কথা অথবা হোমওয়ার্ক করার কথা ,সেইসময় মোবাইল বা কম্পিউটার নিয়ে সোশ্যাল নেটওয়ারকিং এর নামে পরকীয়ায় বা ভার্চুয়াল ডেটিংয়ে (কিংবা অন্য কিছুতে) ব্যস্ত ,যা একটি স্বাধীন সার্বভৌম রাষ্ট্রের জন্য অত্যন্ত লজ্জাজনক

When these youths should have been spending their time playing in the field or doing their home work, they spoil their time doing virtual dating (or similar things) using social networking – which is shameful for a sovereign country.

Twitter users are also expressing their reactions:

taslimanasreen: Is banning contagious !! Pakistan banned facebook ! Now Bangladesh !
julu_vai: govt. in bangladesh, by closing facebook for their own personal anger, are causing needless pain to millions. Where is my Freedom of speech?
kowsheek: Finally govt realised that facebook is injurious for pm’s health. #bangladesh
DarthShayan: People from #Bangladesh need to make a stand. We always let the political ppl dominate us. Is Bangladesh not a democracy with freedom?

A Facebook group named Withdraw the ban on Facebook in Bangladesh has been created. Kajal Abdullah at Somewherein reports that offline protests are also materializing:

অলরেডী প্রতিবাদ শুরু হয়ে গেছে। ঢাকা বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের শিক্ষার্থীরা আজ রাত ১২ টায় রাজু ভাস্কর্যের সামনে ফেসবুক বন্ধের প্রতিবাদে ব্যাপক প্রতিবাদ কর্মসূচী পালন করেছেন। এবং হুশিয়ারি দিয়েছেন অবিলম্বে ফেসবুক চালু না করে দিলে আগামী কাল থেকেই ঢাবি শিক্ষার্থীরা মানববন্ধনসহ নানা আন্দোলনে যাবে।

Protests have been started already. Some students of Dhaka University (DU) have arranged a large protest in front of the Raju monument at midnight. They have warned that if Facebook ban is not withdrawn soon the students of DU will take up human chain and other form of protests.

Nazrul Islam at Sachalayatan says:

আমরা প্রথমত একটা গণতান্ত্রিক সরকার চাই। যেই সরকার সবাইকে কথা বলার সুযোগ দিবে। সবার মত প্রকাশের সুযোগ দিবে।

ডিজিটাল বাংলাদেশ গড়ার স্বপ্ন দেখিয়ে বর্তমান সরকার ক্ষমতা নিলো। কিন্তু আমরা দেখলাম এই সরকার ডিজিটের কিছুই জানে না।

আমাদের সরকার জানেই না, যে এসব নিষেধাজ্ঞা কোনো কাজের কথা না। বর্তমান দুনিয়ায় নিষেধাজ্ঞার চেয়ে হাস্যকর কিছু নাই আসলে। যার দেখার সে ফেসবুক কেন, দুনিয়ার সবকিছু দেখতে পারবে। তবু সরকার নিষেধাজ্ঞা জারী করে। [..]
এই নিষেধাজ্ঞা হয়তো কয়েকদিন পরই তুলে নিতে হবে। কিন্তু এই সরকারের ইতিহাসে তা আজীবন রয়ে যাবে।

We want a democratic government which allows freedom of speech – ensures everybody’s freedom of expression. This government has come into power promising a digital Bangladesh. But we are witnessing that it knows nothing about the term ‘digital’. Our government does not know that these bans are not effective – there is nothing sillier than these in today’s world. If anybody wants he/she can access Facebook or everything on the internet. Still the government goes for another ban.
They will perhaps be forced to withdraw this ban within a few days. But this will remain as a bad mark in the government’s tenure.


6 Responses to “Facebook Temporarily Blocked In Bangladesh”

  1. AwamiLeaguer

    Another blunder by Hasina’s henchmen. The conspirators within his party facading to be her well wishers are taking her and her party away from fulfilling her election promises and thereby tarnishing Awami League’s image for a second time! Wake up Hasina before it’s TOO LATE!

  2. BanglaExpress

    Civilian Martial Law !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Democrat

    Its the morons advising Hasina. Who cares who writes what on FACEBOOK! The moment you censor free flow of information whether true or not people become curious and starts believing rumors and propaganda. This is when the evil forces win by pinning down the government. In today’s IT age people are smart enough to find out what’s true and untrue.

    Is this what you call digital revolution in Bangladesh by imitating what a failed state like Pakistan has done! The Awami League is again giving in to fundamentalist religious forces which will definitely ring alarm bells in the West.AL has also lost its popularity among the new voters. Isn’t it contradictory that the largest secular party taht led the war against Pakistan followed the footsteps of a country that is devastated by religious fanaticism because its past rulers bowed down to demands of the religious extremists. I am sure there are Jamaat-e-Islami sabouteurs within the AL.

    And how on earth do you expect the stupid AL leadership to try the war criminals? They are doing exactly what the outgoing fascist caretaker government and the BNP-Jamaat evil axis did by shutting down facebook and other blogspots.

    These idiots are so stupid that they never thought that whatever was in FACEBOOK have been seen by millions of Bangladeshis living abroad and the contents were emailed, SMSed or relayed by phone back home in huge numbers the moment FACEBOOK was shut.

    This stupid assholes should understand that there’s no way to gag the information superhighway! Does Hasina understand the core concept of Digital Bangladesh?

  4. Khondkar A Saleque

    Terrible decision.Do we chop our head to get rid of headache? Wonder who is running the affairs. Facebook can have any or many objectionable cartoons and criticism against individuals. But that can not be any valid reason to ban it in Bangladesh which claim to become a digital country. Perhaps government is guided by crazy fundamentalists.

  5. Democrat

    This government has so far performed well without creating any major controversy. It has no allegations of corruption. The opposition is in a terrible mess. The ruling party has won recent elections handsomely. It is predicted that the AL will reclaim the Chittagong mayor’s seat again. The government is pretty comfortable in the backdrop of a war-criminal backed opposition that hardly has any issue at hand to launch any agitation program.

    Therefore, it is illogical for the government to feel paranoid. Please restore facebook for free, uniterrupted and uncorrupted flow of information. A few scums in an ocean of free, honest voices will settle down at the bottom with no one taking notice of the villains.

  6. Saleem Samad

    Former Law Minister Barrister Moudud Ahmed aptly said there exists a government within a government, which is playing ghost to the undemocratic intervention in the state….Joy Manush!

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