I am a college student. In social media I have been facing a few problems since the very beginning. In the public groups and pages, I often face harassment by unknown users and strangers in the comment section. I wanted to know if there is any legal solution to my problem.
Shila (not real name)
The situation you are facing is commonly known as cyber bullying. It is basically an act done by a person(s) against another person by using electronic communication, e.g. by/on social media. A few examples of cyber bullying are, causing someone harm by posting unwanted or private information, threatening a person by sending mean messages via emails, social networking websites, text or audio messages, spreading rumours via email or social networking sites, sharing private/embarrassing pictures, creating fake profiles, etc.
In Bangladesh, cyber bullying is not just an act to be scorned upon but is an offence punishable under the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act 2006.The Act inter alia provides that a person who deliberately publishes, in a website or in electronic form, any material which is fake and obscene or has the effect of corrupting persons who are likely to read, see or hear the material or causes to prejudice the image of a person or may hurt religious belief or instigate against any person, then the person publishing the material will be guilty of an offence under the Act. The punishment for such an offence is imprisonment and fine.
Victims of cyber-crimes (including cyber bullying) can lodge a complaint to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) by calling at +880-29611111 or by emailing at [email protected] BTRC is supposed to take necessary actions within 24 hours and the perpetrators will be brought to justice within 3 days after the complaint is filed. The government has also launched a cyber-crime helpline. Victims can call at +8801766678888 to submit their complaints.
Furthermore, if the harassment amounts to criminal intimidation (threatening another with any injury to his person, reputation, property etc.) as per the Penal Code 1860, then the person may be liable to punishment as per the Penal Code 1860.
The above mentioned steps should definitely be resorted to if the matter is serious enough. However, the first step should be the internal reporting process of the particular social media website or application. If we take Facebook for example, photos and comments can be reported and the particular user can be blocked. Similar reporting systems are in place in most popular social media websites or applications.
For detailed query contact: [email protected]