Bangladesh comes next in the line of countries banning games such as PUBG Mobile and Free Fire, fearing that the games are corrupting the youth. TikTok was also on the list of banned apps. On Monday, August 16th, 2021, Bangladesh High Court directed the country’s central government to ban PUBG Mobile and Free Fire for the next month. The reason(s) cited by the High Court was that these games are “destructive” in nature, and that there was a need to “save children and adolescents from moral and social degradation”.
PUBG Mobile and TikTok were banned in India last year, but this was due to concerns over user privacy and national security. Free Fire has continued to be available in India, and PUBG Mobile recently made a comeback in the country under the guise of Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI), which recently hit the 50 million downloads landmark.
Bangladesh bans PUBG Mobile and Free Fire for 3 months
A writ petition was heard by the bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rehman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah. The bench also gave 10 days to the concerned authorities of the government to answer why their inactivity in the banning of these apps should not be considered illegal. The authorities in question include the chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), and the Secretaries of Education Ministry, Law Ministry, and Health Ministry, among others.
On June 19th, the government of Bangladesh received a legal notice to ban PUBG Mobile and Free Fire, as well as other apps such as TikTok. The petitioners, Supreme Court lawyers Barrister Mohammad Humayun Kabir Pallab and Barrister Mohammad Kawser had sent the legal notice. They were representing Law and Life Foundation, a human rights organization. They waited until June 24th to receive a reply from the government. Following a lack of response, the representatives filed a petition to the Bangladesh High Court.
They cited that the rise of popularity of PUBG Mobile, Free Fire, and other such online platforms was “alarming”, and had become an addiction for the country’s youths. The petitioners stated that the country’s values of education and culture were being harmed by the popularity of these online games. The petitioners also pointed out that these apps were being used as mediums for money laundering and other such criminal activities.
Their final mode of contention was that the apps acted as gateways towards violence and other unethical activities. There is an urgent need for the regulatory bodies to monitor and ban these apps, the petitioners stated.