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Experts come down hard on Digital Security Act

FE Report | December 07, 2018 00:00:00

Experts and civil society members on Thursday came down heavily on the Digital Security Act 2018, saying that passage of the law has triggered a sense of insecurity among people of the country.

Addressing a discussion meeting on Digital Security Act, organised by the Transparency International, Bangladesh (TIB), they also urged the authorities concerned to amend the law to ensure freedom of press.

In response to the criticisms against the digital security act, Prime Minister's foreign affairs adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi said there is scope for making amendment to any law.

"A law can be amended many times after its enactment," he said while addressing the meeting as the chief guest.

Dr Rizvi said freedom of expression is the very foundation of civilisation. "History shows that no effort to control freedom of opinion became successful. So, it is wise to give up such efforts."

All either in the government or in the opposition should keep in mind that without freedom of expression, building an ideal society is not possible, he added.

He expressed the hope that the discussion on the pros and cons of the law would continue even after the general election.

Dr Rizvi also said reports should be based on evidence and if there is evidence, it is quite difficult to contradict an investigation report.

But there is a tendency in a section of press to publish reports without evidence and paper trail which, in fact, harms the dignity of a noble profession like journalism.

The adviser also opined that apart from the law, there is a need for creating social awareness against corruption.

"We criticise a big businessman when we find that he has a default loan of Tk 50 billion (Tk 5,000 crore) with banks, but when this person invites us to his house on any occasion we accept that cordially," he said stressing the need for boycotting such corrupt person socially.

Advocate Sultana Kamal, chairperson of the TIB said, the Digital Security Act contains some elements which impede the journalistic process to collect evidence.

"So, this issue needs to be addressed. There is an opportunity to harass journalists on the basis of this law if it is misused," she said.

TIB executive director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said the law has put the people of the country in a state of insecurity.

He said the government has made a self-contradictory move by passing the law.


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