Digital Security Act

Govt's 'breach of trust' dismays editors

Council to hold press conference tomorrow


FE Report | Published: October 12, 2018 10:25:28 | Updated: October 14, 2018 10:52:30


Sampadak Parishad (Editors' Council) has expressed disappointment at disregarding its concerns over the passage of Digital Security Act.

The three cabinet ministers and information adviser to the Prime Minister promised to address the concerns of the council, it said.

In a statement issued on Thursday after the meeting, the council underlined the need for strengthening cyber security through an appropriate legal framework, but opposed sections 8, 21, 25, 28, 29, 31, 32, 43 and 53 of the act recently signed into law by the President.

The council's meeting was held at the Daily Star in the capital and it was presided over by editor of daily Ittefaq Tasmima Hossain.

It said three ministers and adviser to the Prime Minister made specific promise for taking the council's concerns to the cabinet and opening the process of discussion with all stakeholders for an amended version of the act, but it was not honoured.

"[We] consider this to be a breach of trust that the Parishad (council) had reposed, in good faith, on the commitment made by three senior cabinet ministers and Information Advisor to the Prime Minister," the statement said.

It recalled that the meeting was held at the initiative of information minister Hasanul Huq Inu, who invited editors to open a new series of discussions, a commitment that was supported by the Law Minister and the ICT minister in the meeting.

The council demanded that the Digital Security Act be amended in the next session of the present parliament, which will be held in near future.

"[We] consider this to be a good opportunity to respond to the concerns of all journalists and citizens in general who consider the Digital Act as a serious threat to freedom of speech and freedom of expression," it noted.

The council decided to hold a press conference tomorrow (Saturday) at the National Press Club to reiterate its demand that the Digital Act be amended to protect freedom of speech, independent journalism and media institutions from the threat of police intervention and arbitrary arrest.

It said that the law is against the rights to freedom of speech and freedom of press as guaranteed under articles 39 (a) and (b) of the Constitution.

The law contradicts the values of freedom, free speech and rights and the spirit of the Liberation War, according to the statement.

It also contradicts the fundamental norms of democracy, free society and fundamental rights guaranteed in the UN Charter and other international laws and instruments and the core values of ethical and independent journalism.

The signatories to the statement are editor of Daily Ittefaq Tasmima Hossain, founding editor of News Today Reazuddin Ahmed, editor of Manabzamin Matiur Rahman Chowdhury, editor of New Age Nurul Kabir, editor of Prothom Alo Matiur Rahman, editor of the Daily Star Mahfuz Anam, editor of Bhorer Kagoj Shyamal Dutta, editor of Bangladesh Pratidin Naem Nizam, editor of Kaler Kantho Imdadul Haq Milan, editor of Naya Diganta Alamgir Mohiuddin, editor of Dainik Azadi M. A. Malek, editor of Karatoa Md. Mozammel Haque, editor of Daily Inqilab AMM Bahauddin, editor of the Independent M Shamsur Rahman, acting editor of the Financial Express Shahiduzzaman Khan, acting editor of Sangbad Khandaker Muniruzzaman, acting editor of Jugantor Saiful Alam, editor of Bonik Barta Dewan Hanif Mahmud, editor of Dhaka Tribune Zafar Sobhan and acting editor of Samakal Mustafiz Shafi.

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