The Daily Star website, which had been blocked since Friday night, was unblocked after around 18 hours yesterday, following instructions from Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
However, the website was not still fully restored when this report was filed around 10:00pm.
According to our findings, the lead news (related to the alleged killing of Teknaf municipal councillor Akramul Haque) of the June 1 issue of this newspaper headlined 'Murder it was' made a certain quarter unhappy, prompting it to press the telecomregulator to block the news item with the URL: https:// www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/murder-it-was-1584580.
Yesterday afternoon, the BTRC sent a letter to the International Internet Gateways (IIGs), saying, “As decided by the commission, you were directed to block the following URL. But if it is not possible to block the specific URL then you are not directed to block the domain at your IIGs.”
Phone calls, emails and text messages poured in from readers, who wanted to know why the website was down from around 10:00pmFriday to about 4:30pm yesterday.
After the site was blocked, readers of The Daily Star reacted on social media, expressing their concern and also support for the English daily.
“I am a regular reader of The Daily Star. I have been trying to access The Daily Star page since last night, but the page is not loading,” said one reader.
“Are you in trouble?” another reader asked over the phone.
Another wrote on Facebook, “I appreciate The Daily Star to show their courage [to run the report].”
We apologise to our valued readers for the inconveniences the disruptions have caused.
The Daily Star tried to know who had ordered the BTRC to block the site. But no one agreed to talk on record.
BTRC acting chairman Jahurul Haque said he could not disown the matter but added, “I don't know everything about the issue”.
Earlier, the BTRC had directed the IIG operators to block another website (http://www.analysisbd.com/). The block was not withdrawn until yesterday.
In August 2016, the telecom watchdog had blocked 35 news websites on government directives.