Remove “fake, concocted news” from Facebook, YouTube: HC

 remove fake news

The High Court today (August 30, 2022) ordered the authorities concerned to remove Facebook posts and YouTube videos containing "fake and concocted news that incite violence and public disorder" in Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and Facebook, YouTube authorities have been asked to comply with the order and to submit a report to the HC in two weeks.

The HC also directed BTRC and the Digital Security Agency to formulate an accountability mechanism in order to prevent running such Facebook posts and YouTube videos containing misinformation that incite violence.

The bench of Justice Md Khasruzzaman and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir delivered the order after hearing a writ petition regarding this issue.

Two lawyers — Nilufer Anjum and Md Ashraful — recently filed the writ petition as a public interest litigation with the HC seeking necessary orders on this issue.

Earlier on August 21, Supreme Court lawyer Arafat Hosen Khan sent a legal notice on behalf of Nilufer and Ashraful on the authorities, asking them to remove Facebook posts and YouTube videos containing fake and concocted news that incite violence and public disorder in the country in 48 hours.

The lawyer served the notice to Facebook; Sabhanaz Rashid Diya, head of public policy, Bangladesh, Facebook; YouTube; as well as several government bodies, including the chairman, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC); director general, Digital Security Agency; and Inspector General of Police (IGP) for taking necessary steps to this effect.

Lawyer Arafat Hosen Khan said in the legal notice that the notice recipients have failed to discharge their statutory duties to regulate, monitor, take down and remove content from online social and/or digital media platforms infringing the sovereignty, integrity and security of the state; public order; and misleading information tarnishing the image of the state organs.

In their legal notice, he said that in recent past it has been observed that Facebook and YouTube have not applied any supervisory mechanism or control over its content, especially in Bangladesh, while a large number of fake news, content, images, videos – damaging the images of various political figures, intellectuals, tarnishing the image of Bangladesh as a nation, disclosing various sensitive issues relating to international policies – are circulated through various Facebook users and YouTube subscribers in and outside Bangladesh with an object to diminish the country's image.

"By using Facebook and YouTube as medium, a number of Facebook users (both individually as well as groups) and YouTube users and subscribers are spreading rumours and propaganda to embarrass the government," the notice said.


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