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Freeing up the internet

  • Published at 12:04 am November 7th, 2019
Photo: AFP

No good can come of over-regulating the usage of the internet

In today’s highly digitized world, one of the key indicators of the strength of any democracy is the degree to which the nation’s internet is considered open.

Given the government’s commitment to its Digital Bangladesh manifesto, it is disheartening to know that Bangladesh is considered only “partly free” when it comes to internet freedom.

According to Freedom House, which has assessed a total of 65 countries in a survey titled “Freedom on the net,” Bangladesh scored 44 points out of a possible 100. 

To put this into context, China scored the lowest with 10 points, placing it under “not free.” 

It is unfortunate that, despite all the progress we have made in terms of our digital infrastructure, the government still feels it necessary to control content on the internet in such a heavy-handed manner.

The internet is not only a means of communication, it is also a repository of information. For the government to maintain such a tight grasp over access to that information not only stifles democracy, it also stifles a nation’s capacity to grow and progress.

No good can come of over-regulating the usage of the internet, and blocking websites or policing social media will only do harm to our image in the world. 

The future is digital, and thanks to all the hard work of the government, Bangladesh is finally prepared to enter that future. But at this juncture, we simply cannot afford to undermine all the efforts made so far.

Digital Bangladesh is a worthy goal, and certainly an achievable one, but for that to happen, greater internet freedom is paramount.