In March 2009, the Bangladeshi government blocked YouTube from its population after a politically sensitive video was posted online. At the time, the fragile democracy was in crisis after a mutiny by scores of national border guards that left 54 officers and 20 civillians killed, with many of the officers' wives being subjected to serious sexual assaults.
Ostensibly the rebellion by the lower ranking soldiers in February that year was over pay and conditions, but there was an element of frustration that border guard officers were promoted from the rank of the mainstream army, and there was little opportunity for promotion for rank and file border guard soldiers. After the oficers announced that they were refusing to negotiate, a bloody and viscious mutiny began that saw the sytematic targeting of officers and their families.
The two day rebellion was only ended after the prime minister offered to negotiate with the mutineers but at the same time warning that she would use any means necessary to take back the military base if the soldiers didn't surrender.
After the soldiers had surrendered, the full extent of the carnage became clear and army officers passions were high. The video that started the ban featured the Bangladeshi prime minister discussing her offer to nogotiate with murderers and worse still many officers believed that the delay caused by the negotiations led to the death of more of their colleagues and their wives.
In the YouTube video, soldiers are heard vehemently remonstrating with Sheikh Hasina and at times jeering and shouting so loudly, she could not make herself heard.
As soon as an extract of the meeting was posted on YouTube, the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory commision decided that the only way that they could block access to the inflammatory video was to place an indefinite blanket ban on YouTube, announcing thatr it was doing so in "the public interest".
Too often, when a government says it is acting to censor in the national interest its actions are usually self-serving. However, the ban should be taken in context. The military in Bangladesh consider themselves to be an inportant part of the political process, and in previous years have stepped in to take over the government in numerous coups. Sheikh Hasina herself has also faced assasination attempts in the past, arrest on bogus charges and was only narrowly elected to the post of prime minister.
Sheikh Hasina's fragile democratically elected government was only 2 months old, but a national address during the coup sent an important message to the military, and the world at large, that she was in control of the negotiations, and not the military. It's Tubeoxy's view that the ban, whilst being undesirable, was probably understandable in the circumstances.
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