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Bangladesh Lumps Gambling With Porn While Blocking Access To Websites

Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Blocks Over 2,200 Gambling Sites And Over 15,000 Adult Websites

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The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission blocked more than 17,000 websites on Monday morning in an effort to prohibit its citizens from gambling and viewing adult videos online.

The BTRC restricted access to 2,200 gambling websites and more than 15,000 adult entertainment websites. The news was released through a Facebook post by Mustafa Jabbar, the country’s Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister.

In the post, Jabbar claimed that the internet’s intended use was to benefit young people. The government felt that gambling and pornography-related websites were not helping achieve that goal.

Aside from the gambling and adult websites, the government blocked Tik Tok and Bigo – two popular apps for smartphones used for sharing video.

Reasons for blocking mobile apps appear to be completely political. Users from the two apps mocked ‘anomalies’ in election results. Amidst accusations of vote rigging in the 2018 election, Dr. Kamal Hossain, who lost his bid to become the country’s prime minister, called for a new election.

Hossain’s supporters took to the apps to voice their dissent before they were silenced this week by Jabbar and other government officials.

Bangladesh has a disconcerting history of internet censorship. Weeks before the election in question, there were more than 100 websites blocked by the country. Most of the blocked sites were news outlets and were allowed back online after the election was completed.

It is unlikely that any of the gambling websites will be unblocked.