Bangladesh blocks blogs, facebook pages

Move was taken in line with the country’s telecommunication laws

Image Credit: EPA
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Shaikh Hasina places wreaths at the Central Shaheed Minar Dhakato honour Language Movement martyrs on International Mother Language Day.


Dhaka: Bangladesh overnight closed 12 blogs and facebook pages for carrying out “malicious publicity” by suspected radicals as part of a nationwide campaign against their stalwarts for 1971 war crimes siding with Pakistani troops.

“Our Computer Security Incident Response Team has closed 12 blogs and facebook pages which are being used to carryout malicious publicity against society, politics, state and religions and abuse the people’s religious sentiment,” a spokesman of Bangladesh Telecom Regulatory Authority (BTRC) told Gulf News.

The official said the blogs and pages that were closed for spreading “objectionable comments” included “Sonar Bangla”, “Bansher Kella” and “Dharmakari”, believed to be run by fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) activists as their top leaders are now facing trial for “crimes against humanity” during the Liberation War.

He said the move was taken in line with the country’s telecommunication laws and “not led by any political consideration” while identical actions would be taken if more such sites are found to be involved in “spreading malice or abusing religion”.

The development came hours after Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said some quarters put in effort to portray as “anti-Islamic rally” a campaign in the capital’s Shahbagh Square since February 5.

Hundreds of young people joined by 1971 Liberation War veterans and a cross section of people to stage the sit-in demanding capital punishment for top “war criminals” — most of them being stalwarts of JI — which was opposed to Bangladesh’s 1971 independence.

“The war crimes trial in no way is an anti-Islamic activity, rather a bold step to establish justice… crimes against humanity like mass-killings, rapes, arsons and tortures do not deserve mercy in the eyes of Islam either,” Inu told a press conference.

He said war criminals who are being tried are “professional political leaders and activists, not Islamic scholars or clerics, religious teachers or preachers” while, on the other hand, the government never indulged in any campaign that could hurt followers of any faith in the past nor will it do so in the future.

Inu also issued a stern warning against exploitation of people’s religious sentiments for “vested interests” by pro-JI newspapers and TV channels.

Bangladesh authorities earlier banned Youtube to prevent the viewing of a defamatory video insulting Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) which earlier sparked worldwide protests in late 2012.

The Shahbagh protestors earlier issued a statement urging people to be cautious about the campaigns portraying them as anti-Islamic saying “we request you to keep your eyes and ears open and do not get misled by any campaign [against us] in the name of religion”.

Source: Gulf News