Where has all the rage gone?

Evidently, Facebook is the second most popular site in Bangladesh, after Google. People (read new voters) aged between 18 to 34 constitute three quarters of Bangladesh’s total users. So when an all-out ban was imposed, one would definitely expect a widespread response.

Instead, most newspaper reported the news as if the baning was a ‘requirement’! Looks like everything is normal! And most surprisingly, there seems to have a bi-partisan movement here, where left and right wing newspapers are reporting the event in the same manner!

Prothom Alo and Amar Desh made similar reports saying that the site was blocked for hurting religious sentiment and making cartoons of national leaders (SH-KZ), but didn’t criticize the ban in anyway.

Manobjamin reported the news mainly justifying the ban, and made a separate story on the alleged “facebook criminal“.

Sangram demanded ban of the “cursed” facebook all along. Vorer Kagoj, Inquilab and Janakantha also followed the most by reporting mainly the causes of the ban, i.e. caricature of Prophet, and national leaders. But no criticism.

New Age reported it as if the whole thing was done or initiated by the Rapid Action Battalion who had requested Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission to temporarily block Bangladesh access to Facebook. Naya Diganta, which publicized Ameeni’s call for ban on Facebook, however published a small news on DU students’ protest against the ban.

Kaler Kantha had a balanced report which included comments from both sides (notably of Aminee, who said “I’m happy”).  Daily Star also cites ‘cartoon’ of Hasina, Khaleda as the main reason behind the ban; it however reports that “members of popular social network angrily react to govt decision”.

The apparent support or lack of protest in the media may have emanated from the cartoon-controversy that hurt people’s religious sentiment. While we condemn the provocative and despicable actions by those cartoonists, we should also keep in mind that, cutting off the head is NOT a cure for headache.

Those media who are still dreaming, here is an edited version of much-quoted poem (original one attributed to Martin Niemoller) for them–

THEY CAME FIRST for the Youtube,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t using Youtube.

THEN THEY CAME for the TV Channels,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t watching ETV, CBS or Chanel 1.

THEN THEY CAME for the Facebook,
and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t interested in Facebook.

and by that time no one was left to speak up.

[cross-posted at UV]


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