News website blocked over news content in Bangladesh04 Jun, 2018
The website of the popular daily The Daily Star, was blocked for more than 18 hours on June 1 following an order from the telecommunications authority in Bangladesh.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins the Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum (BMSF) in expressing serious concern over the blocking of the website over news content; and urges the Bangladeshi authorities to refrain from such censorship.
The Daily Star website was blocked beginning June 1 night following instructions from Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). The BTRC sent a letter to the International Internet Gateways (IIGs), stating, “As decided by the commission, you were directed to block the following URL. But if it is not possible to block the specific URL then you are directed to block the domain at your IIGs.”
The stated URL was a link to the main news of June 1 with headline ‘Murder It Was’ related to the alleged killing of Teknaf municipal councilor Akramul Haque.
According to The Daily Star, although the block was withdrawn on Saturday evening, some of the IIGs still continued to block it. The BTRC had also directed the IIG operators to block another website (http://www.analysisbd.com/). In August 2016, the BTRC had blocked 35 news websites on government directives.
The IFJ said: “The IFJ is seriously concerned over blocking access to The Daily Star website in Bangladesh by the telecommunication authority. Blocking of the website is clearly an act of censorship aimed at denying the public access to information, and therefore should not be carried out arbitrarily by the state. The IFJ urges the Bangladeshi authorities to refrain from shutting down websites in future.”