Page last updated at 12:32 GMT, Monday, 9 March 2009

Bangladesh imposes YouTube block

Soldiers search border guards returning for duty in Dhaka.
Soldiers search border guards returning for duty in Dhaka

The video-sharing web site YouTube has been blocked by Bangladesh after a recording of a meeting between the PM and army officers was posted.

The meeting took place two days after a mutiny by border guards in Dhaka that left more than 70 people dead.

The recordings cover about 40 minutes of a three-hour meeting and reveal how angry many in the military were at the government's handling of the crisis.

YouTube had been blocked in the "national interest", officials said.

Hundreds of guardsmen have been arrested in connection with the mutiny but hundreds more are still being sought.


The chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, Zia Ahmed, said the decision to block access to YouTube, and another website, esnips, was taken because the audio recordings they hosted threatened to worsen the current situation.

"The government can take any decision to stop any activity that threatens national unity and integrity," he said.

Shekih Hasina
Sheikh Hasina has been both praised and criticised over the mutiny

The government has not said when the sites will be unblocked.

The meeting in question took place after the mutiny in the Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) headquarters two weeks ago had collapsed. Some 54 army officers were among those killed.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina agreed to talk to officers to persuade them that her strategy to end the mutiny had worked and had in fact minimised casualties.

"We want answers," some of the officers, who numbered more than 2,000, shouted at Sheikh Hasina.

Her attempts to speak are often jeered and drowned out.

The BBC's Mark Dummett in Dhaka says there had been anger in the army over the government's decision to negotiate with the mutineers, rather than immediately sending in troops to crush their revolt.

Many in the army believe the move gave the border guards more time to kill the officers and rape their wives.

One officer at the meeting tells the prime minister: "I do not understand who gave you that idea that it has to be solved politically... rebellion has to be crushed with force.

"But you have not done that... politics is not applicable everywhere... if one tank would have gone there or a commando platoon landed there, the [BDR] would have fled like ants... but none went... all my officers were killed helplessly… and you failed to do anything."

Our correspondent says that outside the army, many in Bangladesh believe she handled the crisis well, though her government has undoubtedly been shaken and relations with the army remain low.

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