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Bangladeshi authorities objectives international’s largest Bengali running a blog platform in porn censorship spree

Over the past week, the Bangladeshi government has banned greater than 18,000 web sites and apps as a part of a so-referred to as “conflict” on pornography.

A listing of targeted websites despatched to net carriers blanketed Somewhereinblog. Internet, the net’s biggest Bengali language-primarily based blogging platform, Google Books, and favorite social media apps like Tik Tok and Bingo.

Also, some excessive-profile social media users were summoned to police stations and asked to get rid of “vulgar” content material from their pages, in what seems to be an attempt of ethical policing.

Last November, the Bangladesh High Court directed the authorities to block all pornography websites and obscene materials on the line inside the subsequent the subsequent six months. Soon after that, the Bangladesh government blocked extra than 4,000 pornographic and at least 176 other websites.

This week’s censorship spree appears to be today’s result of the ruling. On February 18, the Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar wrote on his Facebook web page:

According to Emdadul Hoque, popular secretary of the Internet Service Providers Association, net provider vendors in the united states have complied with the order from BTRC. He also talked about that many customers can still get entry to the one’s sites using the use of digital non-public networks.

The Dhaka Tribune acquired what appears to be a legitimate list of the banned web sites. The listing includes the running a blog platform somewhereinblog.Net and Google’s online library collection, Google Books.

When requested whether those websites had been in any manner associated with pornography, Post, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar instructed Dhaka Tribune:

He conceded that there are probably a few errors in verifying the websites in the query and added that the mistakes would be resolved.

There have been no reviews of the way these sites were diagnosed, or what standards had been used inside the system.

Ban goals most extensive network of Bengali bloggers in the international

Somewhere in Blog or Badh Bhangar Awaaz (The Voice of Breaking Barriers) turned into the primary public blogging site constructed for the Bengali language, with functionalities much like LiveJournal. Established in 2005, it has long been home to the most significant community of Bengali bloggers in the world. A common of 60,000 bloggers post or comment on the platform every day.

On February 18, 2019, after some users said that the website online had emerged as unavailable, Somewherein.Net published a observe mentioning that their gadget became functioning well and that they had now not obtained proper notification from the authorities about any disruption in the provider. Although the site seemed on the legitimate listing of banned websites a few days later, it changed into nonetheless available via a few ISPs within u. S . A. As of February 22.

In a message to the crew at Global Voices, Somewhere in co-founder Jana Syeda Gulshan Ferdous defined the web site’s moderation device. She explained those website administrators are cautious to do away with content material that could be seen as pornographic or objectionable.

The ban on Somewhere in is maximum in all likelihood the result of a few portions of content material on the platform that authorities noticed as “objectionable.” But blocking off an entire platform, home to thousands of independent blogs, is a disproportionate response to the problem. Authorities ought to quickly file a complaint with the platform, asking that the unique, offending content material be eliminated.

As it currently stands, this ban on Somewhere in casts a shadow on what has long been a critical space for discussion and observation. It additionally calls to mind the waves of political violence that have led to assaults and taken the lives of extra than fourteen bloggers and progressive activists in Bangladesh because of 2013. There has been a pointy decline within the trend of running a blog all through this time, and some of the other blogging platforms had been close down.
Moral policing on social media

There are strong indications that the government is also monitoring social media debts for “objectionable” content material.

On February 17, Bangladesh police summoned Sanai Mahbub, an aspiring actress who made nearby headlines remaining year after turning into the first Bangladeshi superstar to announce that she had undergone breast augmentation surgical operation. She often posts suggestive however absolutely-clothed selfies and films on her unique social media channels. The police reportedly demanded that she get rid of provocative photos from her Facebook, Instagram and TikTok pages.

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