Facebook Banned in Bangladesh

Looks like #Facebook is never far from controversies. After getting banned in Pakistan over a contest about Prophet Muhammad’s Caricatures, it’s #Bangladesh who has now banned the site over a similar matter. The country’s telecommunications regulator, the #Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (BTRA), has banned the site temporarily after a Bangladeshi national was arrested for uploading satirical images of Prophet Mohammed along with the country’s leaders.

The citizen, Mahbub Alam Rodin, was arrested from #Bangladesh capital Dhaka and was charged with posting satirical images on #Facebook. Rodin was taken in to custody by the Bangladeshi elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). Apparently, the RAB was tracking Rodin’s online activity since the past year and has termed the person’s online conduct to be ‘offensive’. Rodin allegedly had seven #Facebook accounts he created with fake e-mail IDs. All seven ID’s are being checked now for libelous content. Bangladeshi authorities have said that access to the site will be restored after the pages with the objectionable content are removed.

Rodin is an unemployed Bangladeshi national who used several online aliases like ‘Brigadier Mahadi’, ‘Sepahi Mahadi’, ‘Imam Hossain’, ‘Rodin Al’, ‘Mohammad Al Mahadi’ and ‘Junaida Khandaker Zihan’, according to Commander Mohammad Sohail, director of RAB’s legal and media wing, as quoted saying by the Daily Star.

The blockage of #Facebook was followed by protests by the student community in #Bangladesh who were seen on the streets. Experts have also criticised the government for blocking the entire website – instead of the individual profiles that contained the objectionable content. Islamic political parties in the country have however welcomed the ban.

While the recent #Facebook controversy was more Pakistan centric, let us also remind you that #Bangladesh too has had a history of blocking websites over various issues. In March 2009, popular video sharing website YouTube was blocked for political reasons rather than religious.

While we file this story, a Pakistan Court has called for unblocking #Facebook in the country.



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