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24 May, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Media freedom must be guaranteed

Media freedom must 
be guaranteed

The government’s plan to redraft the proposed Digital Security Act Bill is all welcome. The law minister has affirmed, once again, that the eight points raised by the journalists would be taken into cognizance, and before the bill’s passage, it would be positively redrafted. At the recent meeting with the parliamentary standing committee on post, telecommunications and ICT ministry at Jatiya Sangsad, the Editors’ Council, Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists, Association of Television Channel Owners (ATCO) again strongly opposed the bill, saying that if enacted, it would create scopes for gagging free media and freedom of speech. The journalists will have to always stand for their legitimate professional concerns.

A more draconian law than Section 57 which the community of journalists consistently opposed will never be acceptable. At the present format of the Digital Security Act Bill, it would seriously impede the freedom of the press that ultimately will halt the march of democracy and progress of the country. For a modern society to build up, freedom of expression acts as a cornerstone, and if this is violated, the society will regress without realizing its fullest potentials. The proposed Digital Security Act Bill exactly does this in violation of the spirit of the constitution.

Since the drafting of the bill, journalists as well as a cross section of people have continuously opposed the bill and the relevant government people including the law minister several times sat with the journalists who pointed out specifically certain provisions in the draft that would act against doing investigative journalism and people from the government also agreed on the logicality of journalists’ arguments. Yet the government moved ahead with the bill. Now when the bill will be placed before the parliament for deliberation, the decision to redraft the bill makes us hopeful that the bill in the corrected version would be acceptable to journalists.

We want to believe in the word of the law minister that the government does not want to enact the digital security law for any certain individual and it is not the desire of the government to obstruct journalism or target journalists. For this to ensure, the vagueness of Articles 8, 21, 25, 28, 29, 31, 32, and 43 of the proposed bill must be eradicated or if necessary they can be deleted altogether. It should be always kept in mind a free media is for the sake of all.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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