Bangladesh blocked news media websites amid 2024 general elections


January 6, 2024 - January 7, 2024
news media
published by Maria Xynou on January 10, 2024
Network(s): AS24389, AS24432, AS23956

Amid Bangladesh’s general elections on 7th January 2024, some ISPs in Bangladesh blocked access to several news media websites: Manab Zamin, Samakal, Jamuna TV, and Voice of America (VOA) Bangla. These blocks add to the pre-existing list of news media websites blocked in Bangladesh.

The following chart aggregates OONI measurement coverage from the testing of,, and in Bangladesh between 10th December 2023 to 10th January 2024.


Chart: OONI Probe testing of,, and in Bangladesh between 10th December 2023 to 10th January 2024 (source: OONI data).

As is evident, all 4 domains presented a spike in anomalies (signs of censorship) around the time of Bangladesh’s 2024 general elections (which took place on 7th January 2024). Both Manab Zamin ( and Samakal ( were previously found accessible, only starting to present a spike in anomalies on the eve of the elections (from 6th January 2024 onwards). This comparison (with past measurements) provides a signal of censorship, though the limited measurement coverage in the weeks prior to the election presents a limitation.

That said, the blocking of is automatically confirmed on Grameenphone (AS24389) based on block page fingerprints known to OONI. Similarly, we are able to automatically confirm the blocking of on Axiata (AS24432) based on fingerprints. These (automatically confirmed) cases are based on the testing of the HTTP version of the sites, as the blocks are made evident through a block page. But as these sites support HTTPS, most measurements pertain to the testing of the HTTPS version of the sites and are not automatically confirmed blocked (as fingerprints for these specific cases don’t exist in the OONI dataset). Instead, such cases of blocking are annotated as “anomalies”, providing a signal of potential blocking (while highlighting the risk of false positives).

By looking at the anomalous measurements, we can see that the blocks are primarily implemented by means of TLS interference because we observe the timing out of the session after the ClientHello message during the TLS handshake. We consistently observe this pattern across anomalous measurements for all 4 domains (,,, during the same period (particularly on 6th and 7th January 2024, when most of these domains received the largest testing coverage), providing a strong signal of blocking. It’s worth highlighting though that OONI data shows that these blocks were not implemented on all tested networks in Bangladesh.

While relevant OONI measurement coverage has been very limited before and after the elections, the available measurements suggest that these news media blocks may have been limited to the election period (6th and 7th January 2024).

If you are in Bangladesh, you can contribute more measurements by running OONI Probe.