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Central & South Asia
Bangladesh restores Facebook access
Ban on social networking site lifted after controversial cartoons are removed.
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2010 04:33 GMT
Bangladeshis took to the streets protesting
against the caricatures [AFP]

Authorities in Bangladesh have lifted the ban on Facebook, the social networking website.

The website had been blocked a week earlier over caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed and "obnoxious" images  of Bangladeshi leaders.

The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) ordered the country's international Internet gateway providers to unblock the site on Sunday after the US-based company agreed to remove the controversial images and content.

"The Facebook is now open," BTRC vice-chairman Hasan Mahmud Delwar told the AFP news agency.

The move came after Pakistan lifted a similar ban on Facebook last week following a court order.

Islamabad had blocked the social networking site, video website YouTube and 1,200 web pages over a row about "blasphemous" content on the Internet.

'Sentiments hurt'

Bangladesh banned Facebook on May 29 after officials said cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed posted on the site "hurt the religious sentiments of the country's Muslim population".

Thousands of people belonging to Muslim groups staged protests over the cartoons which they branded "anti-Islamic propaganda", and demanded the site be banned.

Nearly 90 per cent of Bangladesh's 144 million people are Muslims who regard depictions of Islam's prophet as blasphemous.

The BTRC also said that some links in Facebook contained "obnoxious" images of the country's leaders including the prime minister.

The country's anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion arrested one man over the images of the political leaders.

Bangladesh has nearly one million Facebook account holders - a sixth of all Internet users, according to the BTRC.

Source:
Agencies
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