Bangladesh blocks Facebook over caricatures

Published: May 30, 2010
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Pakistani students shout slogans against Facebook during a protest in Lahore. Bangladesh has also temporarily banned Facebook. (AFP)

Pakistani students shout slogans against Facebook during a protest in Lahore. Bangladesh has also temporarily banned Facebook. (AFP)

Bangladesh has blocked the Facebook social networking site because of “objectionable” materials it contained about the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and the country’s political leaders, a telecoms regulatory official said on Sunday.

The government move followed publication of caricatures deemed hurtful to the religious sentiments of the country, the official said. He said the ban, imposed late on Saturday, was expected to be temporary. Facebook was barred last week by a court in Pakistan, also overwhelmingly Muslim, because of an online competition to draw the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

The video sharing website YouTube was blocked for a time. Publications of similar cartoons in Danish newspapers in 2005 sparked violent protests in Muslim countries. Around 50 people were killed in 2006 demonstrations over the cartoons. Hundreds of protesters marched through Dhaka on Friday demanding action against Facebook.

The elite security force Rapid Action Battalion on Saturday arrested a man in Dhaka for posting “obnoxious” images of the country’s political leaders, including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia. He is being questioned by police, officials said. The blocking of Facebook, popular among Bangladeshis, especially young people, triggered protests by users.

“This was a wrong decision and should be withdrawn immediately,” Mohammad Zafar Iqbal, professor of Computer Science at Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, told a television interviewer. “Instead of freezing the whole system, efforts should be made to find and punish the guilty.”

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Monkey
    May 30, 2010 - 1:39PM

    Shameful how Pakistan is leading only the most idiotic movement ever.Recommend

  • Kanwar Nabeel
    May 30, 2010 - 2:34PM

    way to go….other muslim world should take lesson and join them too …..atleast we should unite and show them our power…..Recommend

  • Averoes
    May 30, 2010 - 3:33PM

    The same story from the BBC says:

    “Some links in the site also contained obnoxious images of our leaders including the father of the nation Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, current Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the leader of the opposition,” said the commission’s acting chair, Hasan Mahmud Delwar.

    “Facebook will be re-opened once we erase the pages that contain the obnoxious images,” said Mr Delwar.

    Clearly, the ban is for political reasons and has nothing to do with religious sensitivities.Recommend

  • Anas
    May 30, 2010 - 4:58PM

    @ Monkey

    Its disgusting that some fb addicts cannot live without their fb dose

    !!Recommend

  • Mudassir Hussain
    May 30, 2010 - 6:58PM

    I am still of the view that Government of Pakistan did the right thing by banning FACEBOOK access. We need to open our minds and reconsider the “reason” why Government took this step. This is the one right way of showing our disgust towards West’s hypocrisy, where freedom of expression does not allow to talk about Holocaust “freely”!! Though I also share this view that this ban should be temporary.
    On a lighter side it is heartening to see Face book’s popularity amongst animals like monkeys…!! Recommend

  • Fear the Monkey
    May 30, 2010 - 7:47PM

    I sincerely believe we should block all the Internet for all the objectionable material that is there. In fact, all encyclopaedias should also be banned because they contain lewd graphic depictions of the female form, amongst other heretical discourse.

    While we’re at it, we should ban newspapers for spreading anti-islamic, pro-western propaganda. Surely this is the only way we can prevent ourselves from being the laughing stock of the world at large, and show our conviction in supporting knowledge over ignorance.Recommend

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