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20 April, 2018 12:16:39 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 20 April, 2018 02:08:48 PM
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Editors' Council concerned

Some provisions would hamper press freedom, say editors
STAFF REPORTER
Editors' Council concerned

Expressing grave concern over some provisions of the proposed Digital Security Act, the Editors' Council yesterday (Thursday) demanded  amendment of the undemocratic provisions of the Digital Security Bill-2018 that go against freedom of the press. The leaders of the council came up with the demand at a meeting with law minister Anisul Huq, post, telecommunications and information and communications technology (ICT) minister Mosfata Jabbar and state minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed at the Secretariat yesterday.

After the meeting,  Anisul Huq acknowledged that the issues raised by the editors are logical, saying the law would be enacted after wide discussions among those concerned.

"The Digital Security Act is being formulated to control cyber-crimes, not to curb freedom of expression. If there are any anomalies, the committee will discuss them and only then will a law be made," the law minister said.

The Digital Security Bill was recently placed in Parliament. It would turn into law once it is passed after scrutiny by the parliamentary committee concerned. The law minister said: "I will raise the points raised by the Editors’ Council before the relevant parliamentary standing committee, which is scheduled to meet on April 22.”

At the meeting, the law minister assured editors of arranging a meeting with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Post, Telecom and ICT for submitting their proposals in writing regarding amendments to the Digital Security Act.

Later, the Editors’ Council secretary, The Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam, told reporters that Sections 21, 25, 28, 31, 32 and 43 of the digital security bill are against freedom of expression and will hamper freedom of the press.

“Independent journalism, which makes us proud, will be seriously hampered if such an act is made. The ministers have accepted our propositions. We hope that the act that would ultimately be passed by Parliament would not curtail the freedom exercised by newsmen,” he said.

The News Today editor Reaz Uddin Ahmed, Naya Diganta’s Alamgir Mahiuddin, Prothom Alo’s Matiur Rahman, Sangbad acting editor Khandker Moniruzzaman, Kaler Kantha editor Imdadul Haque Milon, Bangladesh Protidin’s Nayeem Nizam, Jugantor acting editor Saiful Islam, The Financial Express editor Moazzem Hossain, New Age editor Nurul Kabir, Inquilab editor AMM Bahauddin and Banik Barta’s Dewan Mohammad Hanif were also present at the meeting.

On January 29, the government had approved the much-talked-about draft of the “Digital Security Act-2018”, incorporating some provisions that would go against freedom of expression.

Soon after approval of the law, the Editors’ Council and rights bodies demanded removal of some controversial provisions, saying that investigative journalism would stop if the law was passed without removing some of the provisions.

On April 9, the government placed the Digital Security Bill-2018 before the House, with a view to ensuring digital security, combating digital crime and punishing offenders.

Telecom and ICT minister Mustafa Jabbar placed the bill before Parliament, with Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair. The House sent the bill to the parliamentary standing committee concerned for further scrutiny, asking it to report back within four weeks.

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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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