Police’s Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit has given 24 hours to the director and the lead actor of short film “Boishommo (Discrimination)” to remove it from social media platforms.
The cybercrime wing of the CTTC unit called self-proclaimed film-maker and script-writer Hayat Mahmud and actor Sabbir Hossain to their headquarters Wednesday morning. Hayat and Sabbir could face charges of promoting cyber bullying if they fail to abide to the police request.
CTTC Additional Deputy Commissioner Najmul Islam said: “We have asked Hayat and others to remove 'Boishommo' from all social media platforms. We will take measures against those who upload or share the video.”
Viral story with wrong message
'Boishommo' became viral on social media since it was published on the YouTube channel of Hurricane Productions roughly a week ago.
It was removed later from the channel in the wake of a surge of criticism against its misogynist content. However, even at the time of writing this report, the video was seen on a number of social media pages.
The short film – where Sabbir’s character confronts a woman for smoking publicly – not only was blatantly sexist but also urged everyone to film women who smoke in public and upload it on social media.
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Violations of law
The film garnered negative responses on social media, and many rights activists and journalists, mostly women, approached the CTTC Wednesday.
Ain O Salish Kendro (ASK) submitted a written complaint to police in the morning asking for legal measures against those involved in the film.
It pointed out that the film questioned special provisions made for the development of equal rights and opportunities for women in the constitution.
ASK also said targeting women smoking in public, although there is a ban on it irrespective of gender, violates a High Court order and is equivalent to oppression against women.
The rights watchdog pointed out that provoking the tendency to secretly capture and post videos of women contradicts the National Broadcasting Policy 2014, National Women Development Policy 2011 and violates the Information and Communication Technology Act 2006, Bangladesh Penalties 1860, and Criminal Procedure 1898.
It also contradicts Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), according to the complaint.
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Hayat and Sabbir submitted written apologies to police and went live on Facebook around 6pm from Hayat’s personal account to apologize for their wrongdoing.
The duo promised to have the video taken down from all pages which may have posted it and said the urge to video women smoking and publicize it on social media was wrong.
They also warned everyone that watching their film or any such film which promotes cyber bullying was in violation of the law.
Md Alimuzzaman, CTTC deputy commissioner (cybercrime), said: “We have accepted their written apologies and will speak to their parents before letting them go.”
Hayat said: “If anyone harms people after being inspired from our video or takes any wrong decision because of it, I will take full responsibility for that.”
Hayat also said the producer, Mohammad Ashiqur Rahman, inspired the storyline of the production and funded it. Ashiqur, who is based in the United States, is the owner of Hurricane Productions.