Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Bangladesh slows internet ahead of election

Bangladesh’s authorities have severely restricted internet services across the country in an effort to fight “propaganda” ahead of Sunday’s general election, an official said.

At the end of an election campaign marked by deadly violence, internet services were slowed across the country with 3G and 4G services suspended for several hours, a Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) official said Friday.

“We asked telecom operators to halt 3G and 4G services temporarily on Thursday night. We have done it to prevent propaganda and misleading content spreading on the internet,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

He said higher speed internet services resumed on Friday morning after a 10-hour blackout, but could be suspended again later in the day.

Bangladesh will hold a parliamentary election on Sunday with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina seeking a record fourth term in power.

She is being challenged by an alliance led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) which says thousands of its activists have been arrested in a nationwide crackdown during the campaign.

BNP leader Khaleda Zia was jailed for 17 years on graft charges this year and the party says its candidates were attacked to prevent them from campaigning.

Shut out by mainstream media, the BNP has been reduced to social media such as Facebook to lobby for votes.

Its leaders have posted series of videos to canvass support from Bangladesh’s 100 million voters ahead of the election.

Earlier this month, the BTRC blocked the BNP website along with 53 news websites and portals including several pro-BNP sites saying they spread “obscene” and malicious content.

Bangladesh, which has more than 92 million internet users, has a history of blocking websites and key social media such as Facebook and YouTube.

In August 2016, the BTRC blocked 35 websites including several popular among opposition supporters.

© Agence France-Presse

Subscribe to the M&G

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them.

Agency
External source

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Mbeki tells ANC that land without compensation goes against the...

‘This would be a very serious disincentive to investment,’ says Thabo Mbeki in a document arguing that the ANC should not proceed with the Constitutional amendment of section 25

Micro-hydropower lights up an Eastern Cape village

There is hidden potential for small hydropower plants in South Africa

More top stories

Gigaba says it was ‘an unfortunate coincidence’ SOEs were captured...

The former public enterprises minister says he was at a deliberate remove from state companies’ dealings and could not have learned of the looting

SIU freezes R22-million in Digital Vibes accounts

The Special Investigating Unit said it would ask the tribunal to declare the health department’s contract with the company unlawful

Life-saving free train travel offered to domestic abuse victims in...

A pioneering railway scheme in the UK is helping domestic violence victims to escape their abusers by providing them with free travel to reach refuge

Oral submissions to inquiry on local government elections start next...

The hearings will be open to the media and the public, under strict level-three regulations
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×