Dhaka: Bangladesh is preparing to erase “extremely provocative” Islamist speeches from the internet a day after it banned the Peace TV, run by India’s controversial preacher Zakir Naik, a senior minister said today. “We already issued a circular, now a specific directive is being issued for the BTRC (Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Authority) to find out and erase provocative speeches of Islamist leaders. Zakir Naik’s speeches will also be erased,” information minister Hasanul Haq Inu said.
Inu said he has asked his office to ensure that the directive reaches BTRC by tomorrow. Earlier, BTRC chairman Shahjahan Mahmood said that the regulatory body awaited a government directive to erase the provocative speeches from Youtube and other internet systems after it emerged that perpetrators of the two recent Islamist attacks in the country were inspired by Naik or some other Islamist leaders.
“We are aware of the reality, but we need to receive instructions from the government,” Mahmood said. BTRC officials said their monitoring unit found that apart from Naik, three other Islamist leaders including one of the
banned Ansaral Islam Bangladesh (ABT) to be “extremely provocative”.
Bangladesh has yesterday scraped downlink permission for the broadcast of Peace TV for “provoking Islamists”. “It’s (Peace TV) downlink permission has been cancelled in line with an information ministry decision,” a spokesman of BTRC said.
The action came a day after the high level meeting of the cabinet committee on law and order decided to ban the Peace TV amid allegations that at least one of the five slain perpetrators of the deadly terrorist attack in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone that killed 22 people, mostly foreigners, were inspired by Naik’s preaching.
The information ministry directive said, “Based on the Cabinet committee’s decision, free-to-air TV channel Peace TV’s downlink permission has been cancelled for violating downlink conditions”.
Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan has earlier said that Naik “is on our security scanner” and “our intelligence agencies are investigating his activities as his lectures appeared provocative”. He added that the investigators were also focusing on Naik’s financial transactions. Naik’s Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation run the Peace TV, which has a Bangla version targeting the Bangladeshi audience.
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