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BTRC starts blocking ‘destructive’ PUBG, Free Fire games

Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has started blocking of ‘dangerous’ games such as PUBG and Free Fire from the country’s online platforms following a High Court directive.

On August 16, the HC ordered an immediate removal of all “destructive” or harmful games and mobile applications — including TikTok, PUBG, Free Fire, Bigo Live and Likee — from online platforms.

“Pending hearing of the rule, the respondents are hereby directed to ban/block/remove all links/ Internet gateways of PUBG, Free Fire and all other similar online games for a period of 3 (three) months from date,” the HC order issued on Sunday said.

BTRC vice-chairman Subrata Roy Maitra on Wednesday told reporters that they started the process after receiving the court order on Tuesday.

“We have already asked the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) to take action to block PUBG and Free Fire [from the country’s online space],” he said.

The telecom regulator was also preparing a list of harmful online apps, including TikTok, Bigo Live and Likee, Maitra said.

He said they were currently evaluating and reviewing which apps were to be brought under this list.

Maitra added that they will block the apps they can. “But we may not be able to ban all of them due to technical shortcomings. In that case, we will write to the concerned authorities and consult or outsource the task to those who can.”