Bangladesh lifts ban on social media

Dhaka, Dec 14 (IANS) Bangladesh has lifted a ban on all social networking platforms, the media reported on Monday.

Bangladeshi State Minister for Post and Telecommunications Tarana Halim confirmed the government’s decision to Xinhua news agency.

The decision to lift ban on all social media platforms came hours after the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s (BTRC) new instruction to block three more online voice and messaging services — Twitter, Skype, imo.

The BTRC on Sunday night asked all of the country’s cell phone operators and telecom service providers to suspend the three popular services — Twitter, Skype, imo — immediately.

“All social media have been opened. They are now available across Bangladesh,” Halim said.

“Directives have already been sent to the relevant authorities for taking necessary steps to unblock all social media platforms including Skype, Twitter, WhatsApp and Viber,” he said.

BTRC on November 18 blocked Facebook, WhatsApp and Viber for security reasons shortly after the country’s apex court delivered verdicts upholding the death penalties of two influential opposition leaders — criminals Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mojaheed — for war crimes.

For the first time in its history, the Bangladeshi government reportedly on that day also temporarily shut down the internet in the country for over an hour.

The shutdown affected businesses and services heavily dependent on the digital networks.

Ban on the social media have been imposed on security grounds, Halim said, adding, “We’ve decided to open all social media platforms as there are no more security concerns now.”

Halim earlier said Facebook and other social networking platforms will be opened after directives come from the home affairs ministry once ensuring the security concerns of the country and its people.

Earlier on Monday, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said there are no existing threats to Bangladesh.

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