5 indigenous-related news portals including the Hill Voice banned by the Govt

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Hill Voice, 13 October 2021, Special Correspondent: The Bangladesh government has shut down five indigenous and human rights-related news portals including the Hill Voice, an online news portal on the Chittagong Hill Tracts issue, indigenous rights, minority and women’s issues and human rights. The government has banned a total of 178 online news portals across the country, including those five.

An information letter signed by Muhammad Delwar Hossain, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Information and Publicity, on October 10, 2021 and a press release signed by the same person on October 11, 2021 informed about the decision of the government.

The government’s banned news portals on Chittagong Hill Tracts, Indigenous Rights, Minority and Human Rights are: the Hill Voice (hillvoice.net), the CHT News (www.chtnews.com), the CHT Mail (www.chtmail.com), the CHT Media (www.chtmedia24.com), the Indigenous Media  (indegenessmedia.wordpress.com).

Although the Hill Voice is an online news page on the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Indigenous Rights, Minority and Women’s Issues, and Human Rights, but it is published from Ontario, Canada. From the very beginning, this Bengali and English bilingual news page has been publishing and disseminating various news, reports and articles on indigenous rights, women and minority communities and human rights in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and the plains of Bangladesh with objectivity and boldness. As a result, the Hill Voice soon attracted the attention of various human rights activists and conscious readers including people from indigenous and minority communities in Bangladesh and abroad including the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

On the other hand, it is noteworthy that a vested section of the Bangladesh government and a reactionary force of Bangladesh who are against indigenous rights and human rights have started various conspiracies against the Hill Voice since last year (2020). The Hill Voice was blocked from accessing in Bangladesh by the government of Bangladesh from 16 April 2020. Nevertheless, the Hill Voice can be accessed directly in other countries and the Hill Voice can be viewed and read in alternative ways (through VPN) in Bangladesh as well. In addition, the Hill Voice has been repeatedly accused of copyright infringement by government agencies in the name of various individuals. Every time the Hill Voice has been able to deal successfully with these false and misleading allegations.

Lastly, on October 6, 2021, a person named Taufiqul Pius (abuse@taufiqulpius.org, phone 40375858) from 4593 90th Avenue of Canada submitted allegation of copyright infringement on the English news item titled ‘Human chain demanding punishment of Abdul Rashid for rape of Hajong woman in Sunamganj’ published in Hill Voice on September 25, 2021.

The news was the Hill Voice’s own news and English translation of its own Bengali news. The Hill Voice was able to successfully refute the allegations by presenting appropriate explanations and arguments and submitting factual evidence.

In fact, the address and phone number of the complainant (Taufiqul Pius) were also proved to be completely fake and baseless.

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