Bangladesh Monday lifted the ban on all social media platforms including Skype, WhatsApp and Viber, more than three-weeks after it blocked social networking and messaging apps following Supreme Court ruling upholding death penalty of two opposition leaders convicted for war-crimes.
"All the social communication media are being unblocked following a government order," State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim said.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood confirmed the decision and said they have taken the move following instructions from the government authorities, bdnews24.com reported.
"I am directed to instruct you to release all the social media apps that you were earlier instructed to stop, including Viber, WhatsApp, Line, Tango, Hangout, Skype, Imo, and Twitter," read the letter issued by a BTRC official. Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Viber were blocked last month after the death penalty for two opposition leaders was upheld by the Supreme Court.
The two leaders, Jamaat-e-Islami Secretary General Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, were hanged days later for war-crimes committed during 1971 independence war against Pakistan.
The social networking sites were blocked as the government feared they could be used to mobilise anti-government protests. Similar convictions of opposition leaders in 2013 had sparked country's deadliest violence since independence, with over 500 people killed in clashes between the security forces and opposition activists.
The government had also blocked Facebook during a paramilitary revolt in 2009 that left over 50 army officers dead and video-sharing website YouTube for 260 days between September 2012 and June 2013.