Bangladesh court bans national anthem ring tone

By Anbarasan Ethirajan
BBC News, Dhaka

Image caption, There is strong competition among Bangladeshi mobile phone operators

Bangladesh's High Court has banned the use of the national anthem as a ring tone or welcome tune in mobile phones for commercial purposes.

The court in the capital Dhaka also fined three mobile phone operators - Grameen Phone, Banglalink and Robi - for using the anthem to make money.

Bangladesh is one of Asia's fastest growing mobile phone markets.

It already has around 60 million subscribers and the number is expected to double by 2015.

There is intense competition among mobile phone operators to provide new business techniques to attract customers.

In a bid to woo patriotic Bangladeshis, some companies introduced the country's national anthem as a ring tone and charged customers for the service.

However, the High Court ruled that the use of the national anthem as a ring tone or welcome tune for business purposes was illegal.

Thursday's ruling followed a case filed by a Supreme Court lawyer in 2006.

The High Court also fined the three mobile phone companies $70,000 (£44,000) each and ordered them to pay the money to three health charities within a month.

"The court makes it clear that you cannot use the national anthem for commercial purposes," Masud Sayeed, who argued the case in favour of the petition, told the BBC. "There are certain rules regarding how the national anthem can be used."

Last month, Bangladesh passed a new law punishing those who insulted the national flag or anthem.

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