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WCIT 2012 and the “forgetful” Bangladesh

Bangladesh delegate, led by BTRC chairman Mr. Sunil Kanti Bose, left for Dubai on December 2, 2012 late afternoon to attend WCIT 2012. On that very morning the telcos and ISPs were invited to “Consult” the stance Bangladesh would take on the revision of ITRs. Different links pertaining to the conference were emailed but nothing related to the government’s standpoint was shared.

LIRNEasia was also invited to this meeting. The following documents were shared in advance with BTRC and all attendees:

  1. A Giant Step Backward or the Way Forward; An Analysis of some Proposals before WCIT. By: Rohan Samarajiva.
  2. WHITHER GLOBAL RULES FOR THE INTERNET? The implications of the World Conference on International Telecommunication (WCIT) for international trade. By: Rohan Samarajiva and Hosuk Lee-Makiyama.

However, it became evident that BTRC did insignificant homework regarding the revision of ITRs. Even the authorities conducted no inter-ministerial consultation. The audiences have expressed grave concern at ETNO’s proposal of SPNP. The incompetence of ITU on regulating the Internet was explained with detailed illustration. The danger of emerging ICT sector of Bangladesh falling behind the curve was also elaborated.

The BTRC chairman has declined to discuss the government’s view toward the agenda of WCIT 2012 conference. He has rather expressed annoyance at YouTube for not removing “objectionable” contents despite repeated requests. It has disrupted the civil order, he alleged. And therefore, “Free access to internet is good. It’s a problem only when it’s not governed properly,” – he said.

The government has empowered the delegation to apply “good judgment” and vote accordingly in the Dubai conference. Discussing the ITR issues with the industry less than six hours before departing the country is an alarming indicator. Everyone is nervously waiting to know the stance of Bangladesh in WCIT 2012. That is, of course, if the government decides to make that information public.

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