Petitioners say the country’s youths and adolescents are becoming addicted to these online games and apps
The High court has ordered relevant authorities to immediately remove all dangerous or harmful games and mobile applications – including TikTok, PUBG, Free Fire, Bigo Live, and Likee – from online platforms in Bangladesh.
The bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah passed the order on Monday after hearing a writ petition.
The court also issued a ruling asking why such online games and social media-based mobile apps should not be banned from the country’s online space.
Secretaries of the Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Ministry, chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), secretaries of the Education Ministry, Law Ministry, Health Ministry, the inspector general of police, Bangladesh Bank, bKash, Nagad and 18 other individuals and organizations were asked to respond to the rule within 10 days.
Earlier, on June 19, a legal notice was sent to the government seeking a ban on these games, short video sharing apps and live streaming platforms.
Supreme Court lawyers Barrister Mohammad Humayun Kabir Pallab and Barrister Mohammad Kawser had sent the notice on behalf of rights organization Law and Life Foundation.
Then on June 24, after not getting any response from the authorities, they filed the petition with the High Court in this regard.
In the petition, the lawyers said that the country’s youths and adolescents are becoming addicted to online games such as PUBG and Free Fire, and various online platforms like TikTok, Likee and Bigo Live.
They, terming the trend “alarming,” highlighted the adverse effects of such mobile applications on the younger generations and also shed light on the opportunities they provide for criminal activities.
It may be recalled that the law enforcement agency recently arrested the mastermind behind a human trafficking racket, run through TikTok, who had trafficked more than 500 young girls to India.
Also Read - RAB looks to ban TikTok, Likee, PUBG, Free Fire
On the other hand, Hridoy Babu alias TikTok Hridoy, who is now in the custody of Indian police over a recent assault incident, had trafficked some 50 girls with the gang’s help.
The ring lured young girls over the app by promising well-paid jobs across the border and, later on, sold them as sex workers in India.
The TikTok issue became the talk of the town after the video of a 22-year-old Bangladeshi girl being tortured by her compatriots in Bengaluru went viral on social media in late May, prompting the law enforcement agencies to arrest several members of the human trafficking gang.
TikTok, a Chinese video-sharing social networking service, has been banned in a number of countries, including Indonesia, India, and Pakistan, for varying periods.
Indonesia had temporarily banned TikTok in July 2018 after the government accused it of promulgating "pornography, inappropriate content and blasphemy.”
The ban was lifted eight days later after the social media service had pledged to task 20 staffers with censoring content in the country.
The service had been banned in Pakistan for a while as well. The order was later reversed after TikTok pledged that they would remove objectionable contents.
Meanwhile, in neighbouring India, TikTok has remained banned since June 29, 2020.
Recently, Nepal had banned PUBG. The game was also banned in India's Gujarat. Some were arrested for playing this game.
PUBG was temporarily stopped in Bangladesh too but later the ban was withdrawn.