TIB terms proposed digital security act suicidal

FE Report | Published: September 14, 2018 10:17:33 | Updated: September 15, 2018 12:25:00


Picture used for illustrative purpose only

The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has termed the Digital Security Bill suicidal.

It called for halting the passage of the bill that contradicts the principles of the Constitution.

The parliamentary standing committee on post, telecoms and ICT ministry has endorsed the proposed law by ignoring the stakeholders' recommendations, it said.

The committee on Wednesday finalised its report on the much-debated bill without addressing some concerns of journalists and media owners.

It, however, recommended several changes that include renaming the offence of 'computer or digital spying' as 'violating state secrecy' under section 32.

The parliamentary panel also suggested incorporating the Official Secrets Act 1923 in the proposed law.

In a statement on Thursday, TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman said the bill was finalised  ignoring journalists' concerns about sections 8, 28, 29 and 31.

These will put them at risk while dispensing their professional duties, he mentioned.

The much-debated article 32 relating to spying and the recommendation of following the colonial-era Official Secrets Act are frustrating, Mr Zaman said.

On July 04, the committee at a meeting with Editors' Council, Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) and Association of Television Channel Owners (ATCO) placed an 11-point change to the bill for their consideration.

Mr Zaman said the enforcement of article 32 will bar the right to know information on corruption and rights violations as per the Rights to Information Act 2009.

Besides, the article will hamper investigative journalism and various research works, he added.

"If the bill turns into an act, it'll curtail freedom of expression, freedom of speech and free development of the media to a great extent."

"The citizens will suffer insecurity in the name of digital security," the TIB executive stated.

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