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An exercise in futility

  • Published at 07:58 pm March 31st, 2018
  • Last updated at 01:35 am April 1st, 2018
An exercise  in futility
This makes no sense whatsoever. Bangladesh Telecommunications and Regulatory Commission’s latest plans to curb the use of social media platforms by raising their price of admission is as nonsensical as it is unnecessary. The plan stems from BTRC’s observation that social networking is very popular among our youth, and that engaging themselves in social media platforms for long hours hampers their ability to study. While there is a credible argument to be made over excessive consumption of social media having adverse effects on an individual’s attention span, the issue is of little to no importance for our country in the here and now -- a country where only half the population has access to the internet. A country that is also trying to join the digital revolution, as we understand. To that end, such sweeping plans also run counterintuitive to the promise of Digital Bangladesh. BTRC’s statement that a distinction would be made to ensure access to academic, business, and research websites is not affected by the price hikes is rather shortsighted as well. Platforms such as Facebook and YouTube are used just as much for business and academic purposes as they are to post personal videos and pictures, not to mention the critical role that such websites play for the press and media at large. If the administration is indeed concerned about our youth and their education, it would behoove them to divert some of that attention to our ailing education sector, where the blight of question paper leaks is still wreaking havoc. In a global climate where discussions over the concept of net neutrality has taken centre stage, any state-side plans to regulate content on the internet is a bad idea -- and we hope that the BTRC’s plans will remain just that.