The government's hands are tied over removing defamatory contents from Facebook, YouTube and other online platforms. It can only report such contents to these platforms, said Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar on Monday.
It is wrong to blame the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) for being unable to remove contents from these platforms because it has no authority and control over them, he said.
"Sometimes the social media platforms do not respond to our requests for removing defamatory contents," the minister said at a press briefing at the BTRC building in the capital.
Jabbar made the remarks after the High Court had criticised the BTRC's inaction regarding defamatory images, videos and posts on various platforms, which infringe on the privacy of individuals, like college student Mosarat Jahan Munia, JKG Health Care Chairman Sabrina Arif Chowdhury and actor Pori Moni.
"What does BTRC do? Do they need constant directives to stop these [videos going viral]? Does BTRC enjoy them? Do we not have children? Don't we have a family? Why does everything go viral on social media?" the court said.
Meanwhile, BTRC Chairman Shyam Sunder Sikder said that following the HC directive, it had requested Facebook and YouTube to remove links.
As per the Digital Security Act-2018, law-enforcement departments and agencies notify BTRC of links and websites that go against the government, state, religion and social stability, said Brig Gen Md Nasim Parvez, director general of BTRC.
BTRC then sent the links to social media platforms concerned, requesting for their removal, he said.
Nasim Parvez said Facebook had removed about 4,888 links last year against requests for removal of 18,836 links. And YouTube removed 62 links when asked to delete 431 links.