After the historic ‘Shahabag Movement’ in February 2013, Dhaka, social media gets a new dimension in Bangladesh and it acts like the fruitful opposition of the government till now. As a re-sentence of the movement, a surprising number of passengers enter into the world of social platform and they start playing the role as an alternative media.
But the coin is not same both sides. A numerous number of crimes and sexual harassment are occurring through the networking site. A recent study by Bangladesh Police has shown among the 250 militants arrested in the last two years, 82% of them were radicalized through social media platforms including the Facebook.
A Few days ago, Facebook authorities refused the proposal to sign a memorandum of understanding with Bangladesh Police. Before that police asked for requiring additional identification during opening an FB account as a Bangladeshi. As we know Facebook is a highly confidential site the authorities never disclose any information. And as per their rules they can’t sign such MoU with any country.
Undoubtedly Facebook is the trendiest social networking site in the country. At very present the country has nearly three crore Facebook users.
It became the voice of the people and mirror of the society. People often actively give their opinion, feedback and criticize throughout the alternative platform of media where the position of mainstream media were silence. Various small attempt of social movement– movement against corruption, movement for humanity took place. Even the increasing number of internet users in rural level also participate in the mainstream by social media.
Nevertheless, suddenly, a draft to amend the most controversial law, particularly section 57 of the Information Communication Technology Act 2013 has been passed, which proposes to empower law enforcers to arrest any person without warrant. According to the Section 57, ‘if any person deliberately publishes any material in electronic form that causes to deteriorate law and order, prejudice the image of the State or person or causes to hurt religious belief the offender will be punished for maximum 14 years and minimum 7 years imprisonment’.
It also suggested that the crime is non-bailable. In addition, many people argue that the amended of ICT law will take the country towards medieval age. A remarkable number of journalists, social workers and bloggers as well as even general people were arrested under Section 57 within few months for posting status or photos against government and religion at social media e.g. facebook and twitter.
Now a days a significant number of people are using social media. It has merits and demerits both. Many semi-literate and or less educated people are also using social media. They often do misuse of it. But social media is now a mirror. Whatever happen in our societal life can be found in Facebook. So it is important to re-examine how social media works actually. Now Facebook affects on culture, language and education as well.
So what should we do now? Actually it is totally depends how we use it. A personal concern and self-censorship is indeed here. The concerned guardians, educators and opinion leaders can contribute a lot. They should be careful about what their child actually do through Facebook.
(The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view or editorial policy of Channel i Online or Channel i)