The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Fee on July 18 prohibited zero-rating of social media web sites, on-line information portal bdnews24 reported. MediaNama obtained a duplicate of the order, obtainable under. The transfer is a win for Web Neutrality in Bangladesh, however the regulator didn’t point out it as a consider its determination — the BTRC stated that offering social media without spending a dime was inflicting “unhealthy competition” and “used by dishonest persons to carry out unnecessary criminal activities”.

Bangladesh in 2017 created a licensing regime for on-line media, and handed a Digital Safety Act in 2018, below which it detained a journalist and a columnist for “spreading rumours” amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 4G web entry in Rohingya camps has been shut down since final September.

Zero score in Bangladesh

Because of this order, Fb’s Free Fundamentals, which offers entry to a stripped down zero-rated model of this web, is not energetic in Bangladesh. A Fb spokesperson declined to supply a touch upon the report. Grameenphone, a telco majority-owned by Norway-based Telenor, marketed a messaging pack that supplied 20MB of WhatsApp knowledge per day. Banglalink, one other telco, additionally reportedly supplied WhatsApp and Fb without spending a dime in sure plans, whereas metering different web utilization usually. Robi, a telco that’s a three way partnership between Airtel and Malaysia-based Axiata, additionally supplied a WhatsApp-Fb plan at 50 taka (₹44) for 1GB of information on these platforms. Because of Saturday’s order, these plans should cease.

Apart from India, Web Neutrality rules haven’t been applied in South Asia. Nepal was consulting with TRAI in 2018 for rules round Web Neutrality, however there was no improvement on that entrance. Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister voiced assist for Web Neutrality in 2017, however zero score of sure web sites and companies continues within the nation.

Learn the order

Right here’s the BTRC’s order offered to MediaNama by a supply who wished to remain nameless:

The BTRC’s July 18 order.

Right here’s an English model of the order, translated by Torsha Sarkar of the Centre for Web and Society:

Topic: Asking to cease the apply of telecommunication service clients being supplied free social media associated companies

Communication [?]: Ministry of Data Letter Quantity – 15.00.000.024.18.006.17.162(6)

In accordance of the above talked about indicated topic and directed by the communication, it’s hereby knowledgeable that lately it has been noticed that telecommunication service offering operators, with the goal of attracting clients, are providing both partially or utterly free companies associated to the social media, which is in flip, creating unhealthy competitors out there. These free companies associated to the social media are additional being utilized by dishonest individual to hold out pointless felony actions.

On this state of affairs, it’s directed that you just hereby cease providing such free companies to all clients of your organisation [institution?].

The above talked about topic can be relevant from July 15, 2020 onwards.

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