Authorities in Bangladesh have blocked almost 20,000 websites as part of an anti-pornography “war”.
Internet service providers in the conservative Muslim-majority nation took down pornography and gambling websites in the past week under orders from the telecommunications regulator.
“I want to create a safe and secure internet for all Bangladeshis, including children. And this is my war against pornography. And this will be a continuous war,” Mustafa Jabbar, the posts and telecommunications minister said.
Popular social media apps such as TikTok and Bigo which authorities believe are misused have also been blocked in the South Asian nation, Jabbar said. Most of the blocked sites are foreign, but a few local websites and social media platforms have also faced action under the crackdown, he added.
The crackdown was launched after Bangladesh’s High Court in November asked the government to block pornography websites and publication of obscene materials in electronic forms for six months. The court acted after a civil society organisation filed a petition stating that a large number of adult websites contain uncensored and obscene content.
On Sunday, police reprimanded a rising actress and told her to remove provocative images from her Facebook, Instagram and TikTok pages.
“We are monitoring the local Facebook profiles, YouTube channels and websites also. A few of them were taken down for having obscene content. We advised a few others not to post anything that goes against our social norms” Jabbar said.