Hours after unblocking 58 news portals, telecoms regulator blocked 54 of them again on Monday night. Emdadul Haque, secretary general of Internet Service Providers' Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), told UNB that the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) asked them to block the 54 websites again.
He, however, said four of the websites that were unblocked earlier will remain open. These are poriborton.com, priyo.com, risingbd.com and dhakatimes24.com.
Earlier in the day, BTRC unblocked the 58 news portal after blocking those on Sunday. BRTC senior assistant director (media) Jakir Hossain Khan said the websites were unblocked after 5:00pm as per government directives.
On Sunday, BTRC ordered the International Internet Gateway (IIG) operators to block the access to 58 news portals as per the recommendations of the government and law enforcement agencies.
"We gave the order based on recommendations from the government and law enforcement agencies," Jakir earlier told UNB.
BTRC had cited security concerns for the decision but had not elaborated the reasons. "When an issue is raised to us by the BTRC which is related to law and order of the country, we are bound to comply," IIG president Sarwar Alam Shikder said, reports Reuters.
The 58 sites were found to be not registered with the information ministry and therefore their content was being examined, said Abdul Malek, an official at the ministry.
"It is the responsibility of this ministry to bring all news portals under a system so that they can run smoothly," he said, adding that hundreds of websites were under scrutiny.