The High Court (HC) has questioned the role of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) during the hearing of writ petition seeking directions to remove defamatory images, videos and reports from various platforms which infringe on the privacy of individuals, including college student Mosarat Jahan Munia, JKG Health Care chairman Sabrina Arif Chowdhury, actor Pori Moni and others.
The writ petition was heard by a virtual HC bench comprising Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah yesterday.
At the hearing, the court said, "What does BTRC do? Do they need constant directives to stop these (viral videos)? Does BTRC enjoy this? Do we not have children? Don't we have a family? Why does everything go viral on social media?"
The court added, "They can stop these immediately. They enjoy it. Everyone comes to put a gun to our shoulders and shoot: 'instruct the BTRC.' Why? In the case of Al-Jazeera, we made it clear that the BTRC has all the power to stop this. Still now, writs are being brought one by one."
Let's ask the BTRC chairman to come and explain why you are doing this, what are you sitting there for? They have the power to control it, but they do not. No one pays heed to these without the direction of the High Court."
The court further said, "The BTRC already has the power. Even then we have made a precise guideline. Will we still give them (BTRC) instructions every day?"
Earlier on 25 August, Supreme Court lawyer Tasmiyah Nuhia Ahmed filed the petition seeking directions to remove photos, videos and reports from other platforms, including those of college student Mosarat Jahan Munia, JKG Health Care chairman Sabrina Arif Chowdhury, actress Pori Moni and others.
It also sought instructions to stop spreading such pictures, videos and reports.
Lawyer Tasmiah Nuhia Ahmed appeared for the writ petition while Deputy Attorney General Nowroz Md Rasel Chowdhury represented the state.
Following the hearing, the court dismissed the writ petition.
After the writ was filed, lawyer Tasmiah Nuhia Ahmed said, "Many reports, pictures and videos are being published on various platforms, including social media, targeting the character of individuals, especially women, violating personal privacy. After Pori Moni was arrested in a drug case, various videos of her personal life were published in various platforms. When Munia's sister complained after Munia's death, the video of her bedroom went viral.
"Sabrina Chowdhury's personal photos and videos were released after she was arrested in a Covid-19 report forgery case. This has violated the right to privacy. These publications are contrary to the existing laws and Articles 27, 28, 31, 32, 39 and 44 of the Constitution because all those pictures and videos are not related to the incident."