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Bangladesh: Facebook Temporarily Blocked

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 site, 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.

  • Katie Blue

    I do not understand what the reason was of doing this because one guy did something SOMEWHERE, and now the connections of a million is lost. It was a very bad move.

    • Srishty

      me neither!! de shouldn’t have done it. now im missing all ma frndzz….:(((

  • sumit

    lets go to make global bangladesh……

  • Fazlur Rahman

    Again this action proofs that we are illiterate, backdated, stupid, uncultured and also headless nation. I think that our country administrators must realize this theme if they gather at least education.

  • Fazlur Rahman

    Again this action (blocking FACEBOOK) proofs that we are illiterate, backdated, stupid, uncultured and also headless nation. I think that our country administrators must realize this theme if they gather at least education.

  • Sakib

    I’d like to say something about — “We want a democratic government which allows freedom of speech – ensures everybody’s freedom of expression. ”
    Well if I say anything against Blacks you’d say its racism, if I attack the homosexuals you’d say its intolerance. I say anything against Jews, its anti-sementic behavior. But when you attack the Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) it suddenly becomes freedom of speech and freedom of expression..!!
    Openly criticizing the prophet is in no way tolerable in this society, nor is it in any parts of the Muslim community. If a counter-measure means closing a private website then so be it. I am with the govt. decision and this move has my full support as a Bangladeshi and a Muslim.
    (And for your info I am a BNP extremist AND own a facebook account as well, so what I said is not driven by political or social sense of belonging)

  • http://www.facebook.com p

    what ever the problem is , it is not the best idea to make the website banned. WE WANT FACEBOOK BACK and thats all

  • NAVID

    Although I don’t support the current government in Bangladesh (neither am I against it) but I think we should support the ban for a certain period…. coz what ever we do, we are seen by the whole world…standing against our own government only for a foreign website would really entertain the people looking at us…so thinking of our own sovereignty we should not fight over this little temporary ban….and hey, we could try the proxy to visit facebook and show the others that we don’t care such bans!

  • http://www.aisajib.com Aminul Islam Sajib

    Banning Facebook in Bangladesh is a thoughtless decision made by the government of Bangladesh.

    Another quote from my blog:

    [Almost] Everything can be used in a right and a wrong way. A cell phone can be useful for establishing connection between two or more people staying far from each other. The same stuff can also be used to threaten somebody. So, considering the latter use of cell phone, should you ban cell phone in the country? Another thing is knife or such sharp tools. It can be used to kill somebody, while it is necessary to slaughter our domestic animals — say a sheep, for example. So, considering the latter use, will our government ban knives across the country.

    If you say no, then why is Facebook banned? We are not abusers; we just use the site to stay in touch with friends, and some people use it to promote their blogs or websites, just like me. But you see that we too are not able to access the site. Does that sound fair to you?

  • http://www.nuclear11.blogspot.com/ Mukul

    এটা কেমন বোকামীর ব্যপার একজন অন্যায় করবে আর সবাই সহজ্য করতে হবে তা কি করে হয় ।
    ধরুন আজ ই- মেইল কেই প্রধান মন্তিকে গালা গালি করলো , তা হলে কি পুরো ইন্টারনেট সার্ভিস
    বন্দ করে দিতে হবে । এলোমেলো লিখে এমন id এর link বন্দ করে দিলেই তো হয় ।
    এত হই চই করার দরকার কি । এত কিছু বুঝেন link টা বন্দ করা কি এতই কঠিন । বিদেশীরা
    কি মনে করবে এতে আমাদের । মত স্বাধীনতা বলার কি মানুযের অধিকার নেই । এক জন একটু
    গালাগালি করলো তাতে কি হল । আমি কি ছোট হয়ে গেলাম , বরং নিজের ভুল গুলি এড়িয়ে
    ছলতে সাহিয্য পেলাম ।

    নবী সা: দের কেউ খারাপ বল্লে উনারা কি খারাপ হয়ে গেল । এ কেমন বোকামির কথা ,
    যেকোন একজন সরকারী লোক বল্রেই হয় , য়ে এমন কাজটি করলে আপনার Face Book
    id Stop হয়ে যাবে । আর যিনি লিখেছেন উনি কি বাংলাদেশী না কি ? উনি ইসলামের
    কি বুঝে । বরং আমাদের খেপানোর জন্য কেউ ইছ্ছা করে এমনটা করতে পারে । কোলটি
    হয়তো মনে মনে খুব খুশি হয়েছে । যে তার দুস্ঠামিটা কাজে লেগেছে ।

  • SHABNAM HASAN

    I think we Bangladeshi’s should start doing before saying…because action speaks louder than voice!!..Facebook not only connected us to our friends and relatives only but…we could also access easily to different cultures and styles and know them to make our own better, there is always a dark side of everything…but we were benefited by the bright side of it…there are thousands of people depressed because of this sudden decision of Bangladesh government. And of course everyone has the right to speak, and if that somehow humiliates anything or anyone then that specific thing or person must try to prevent it by upgrading itself. why should all suffer?? and its not that all of the Facebook users in Bangladesh abused Muhammad (PBUH) and our Prime Minister!! Where is justice then? Today its Facebook..tomorrow it will be something else….Is this what is in the fate of Bangladeshi’s ?? UNTIL THE END??….

    • ARMAN HOSSAIN

      Shabnam, Bangladesh doesn’t know the meaning of the word justice…we should try protect Bangladesh frm its government…n Bangladesh simply talks about rights of people, where there is none..if there were, there wouldn’t be so much people objecting about this.

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