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.

22 comments

  • Nemo

    The best way to protest this silly action is to tell everybody about “Tor Browser” and “ULTRA surf” which can browse any ban site.

  • Alien_Ariel

    When we r young we r taught that in ’71 the ruling govt. fought to bring democracy to the country. We r also taught that democracy implies ‘Freedom of Speech’. For us the young generation Facebook was a platform to present our thoughts. If we didn’t like smthing we talked about that. If we did smthing good we boasted about that to the world. Then y did this so called modern govt. with the big talks about Digital and Global and Change suddenly make such a decision without consulting the nation? Who is more important? Isn’t it us – the People who made the govt?

  • Facebook comes online again in Pakistan, now Bangladesh bans it on hurting the sentiments of muslims, read everything on my post :

    http://www.worldshotcake.com/web/facebook-finally-goes-online-in-pakistan/

    btw, this is not spam, take care

  • Rayaan

    While we are a Muslim nation and we’ll not tolerate any offenses to us and our Prophet(sw), I have to say closing down Facebook is a bad move. I’m citing the reasons below.

    1) This is contradictory to the digital crap we were promised.
    2) If someone attacks a Muslim, the Muslim fights back through logical debates.According to Surah Al-Nahl. Ch.15. V-125. If we block of our opportunity to do so, we will fail in our quest to defend ourselves.
    3) Just because you have a one sore toe, do you cut off your whole foot?
    4) Everything in life can be used in two ways. good and Bad. TV has loads of anti-islamic things, block cable TV. Heck, block news-papers.We use these things for the good sides, like Shajib said.
    5) There’s no point in blocking Facebook. There are Proxy’s. There are mobile/iphone/touch sites still on .Those things do not use the BTC or Mango gateways. They have International gateways. The govt. cant do anything to them.

  • Sadman Faijul

    firstly I wanna tell that Facebook is the easiest and safest way to stay connected with our friends and relatives… secondly we can know the people of another country that means we can know the world which increases our communication skills which helps us to lead our life in future… this is the most valuable things of using Facebook… beside this there are also many valuable sides of Facebook… but the government have closed this way by baning Facebook… yes I also know that some bad guys are doing something really wrong in Facebook which is punishable as we all know that someone abused Muhammad (PBUH) and our Prime Minister but for that our government should not ban Facebook… suppose some bad boys do something really wrong in there school… but for that reason the school comity cant ban the school or punished all the student… in this case the school comity must punish the boys who did bad works… if the the school comity unable to do this then it proves inability of them to run the administration of the school… so the moral of it that if someone does bad work in Facebook then it is the duty of the government to find him and punish him… but not to punish everyone by baning facebook… it is not the solution to kill the right for avoiding the wrong… I am really sorry to say that our government shows our country really mean and their inability to the world… I think the government will understand their fault and the diction to ban Facebook which is made by them will be withdrew soon… but this subject will remain forever as a bad mark of our country… so i strongly request to the government to withdraw the ban on Facebook as soon as possible…………………

  • Maliha Rahanaz

    Where do we actually stand? Our country is so backdated, illeterate that they cannot combat an internet conspiracy! The whole nation’s suffering; our leaders are so damn full of pride they cannot even take a single joke on them. But then, they are really the ones to be blamed! They haven’t done anything right for the past few years for Bangladesh! I am actaully glad we have such talented users in our country who actually have the guts to show us the true colours of our leaders! I am ashamed that instead of batteling with just as single user, they closed down the entire network. This clearly means we don’t have anything ot defend ourselves. So next time when something bigger than this happens, the only thing bangladesh government will do is SHUT DOWN THE ENTIRE INTERNET NETWORK! Just sheer stupidity!

  • I think this is unfaire to all the poeple in Bangladesh,to be punished for what one person did…it was the only way to stay connected with Family and friends…what a shame that all must go without communicating @ this time,hope this issue will be fixed a.s.a.p.Thank you.!

  • Why punish the whole Country for one person…where is the system that one calls justice? Unfaire to all the Bengali poeple..open face book for all.!!!

  • […] there are an estimated 2.5 million Facebook users and the country ranks 55th. In 2010 Facebook was temporarily blocked for sometime on charges of malicious propaganda against the Prime Minister and hurting religious […]

  • […] 2.5 huku nchi hiyo kwa ujumla ikishika nafasi ya 55 duniani. Mwaka 2010 mtandao wa Facebook ulizuiwa kwa muda kufuatia mashitaka ya propaganda chafu dhidi ya Waziri Mkuu zilizodaiwa kusababisha usumbufu wa hisia za […]

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