Recently I apprehended looming anarchy due to lack of regulatory clarity on blocking websites in Bangladesh. Evidently it has struck the country’s popular online newspaper. Robi Axiata, the number two mobile operator in terms of customers, has allegedly kept bdnews24.com blocked for ten days. The operator denies any wrongdoing while the blame game goes on.
This time, the operator’s Vice President for Corporate Communications and Corporate Responsibility Ekram Kabir simply denied having blocked the website.
“We do not block any website without instructions from the proper authorities and we did not receive any such instruction (to block bdnews24.com).”
Asked why the outage happened, Kabir said, “We don’t have any technological issues.”
In response, a bdnews24.com spokesperson said, “Various actions are often attributed to intelligence agencies, which create confusion and cause inconvenience to stakeholders,” he added.
Despite its fingerprints being visible allover, the government exploits vague regulation to stay stealth. Service providers and stakeholders of the online industry should demand regulatory clarity on blocking the websites. Mud slugging will yield nothing.