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23 May, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Digital Security Bill will be redrafted

Says Law Minister Anisul Huq
STAFF REPORTER
Digital Security Bill will be redrafted

Law Minister Anisul Huq yesterday said the government would take into cognisance the eight points raised by the journalist community and redraft the Digital Security Bill specifying the definitions of terms, and necessary addition or deletion. “We (government) will consider the opinions of journalists. Their opposition is logical. We will redraft the law,” the law minister said. He made the comments to journalists after a meeting with the Editors’ Council, Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists, Association of Television Channel Owners (ATCO), and the parliamentary standing committee on post, telecommunications and ICT ministry at Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban in the capital.

The participants in the meeting, the journalist community in particular, strongly opposed the bill, saying that if enacted, it would create scopes for gagging free media and freedom of speech.

ICT Minister Mustafa Jabbar, who was also present at the meeting, voiced similar views.

The law minister said, “We will finalise the draft after once again sitting with the representatives of mass media and then place it before parliament for passage.”

“We want to enact the law for the country not for any certain individual. We are not enacting any law obstructing journalism or targeting journalists. We cannot enact any law against the freedom of the press as per constitutional provision,” he noted.

The Editors’ Council specifically raised objection against Articles 8, 21, 25, 28, 29, 31, 32, and 43 of the bill, saying the vagueness of such provisions would threaten the free media and the freedom of speech.

The bill on the Digital Security Act is currently under scrutiny with the parliamentary standing committee on post, telecoms and ICT ministry.

Post, Telecommunications and ICT Minister Mustafa Jabbar said, ‘We the both sides have

agreed that such act is not necessary for us, and that we will bring changes to the law wherever necessary.”

Editors’ Council President and Daily Samakal Editor Golam Sarwar told reporters that the discussion was fruitful. “We have raised objections against some provisions of the Digital Security Act that would threaten the free media and the freedom of speech”.

“We have fought earlier to protect democracy. If the government doesn’t amend the Digital Security Bill before its passage as per our demand, we will launch movement to protect the freedom of speech and journalism,” Sarwar said.

He also said, ‘We have given a written statement to the authorities concerned raising our objections and we hope that the government will work in line with our demand for the greater interest of the freedom of speech.’

ATCO President and Chairman of Independent Television Salman F Rahman said that they have informed the authorities concerned about the bad sides of the law.

“We are worried about some sections of the law. We have informed the authorities concerned about our concerns. The (parliamentary standing) committee has assured us that they would consider our issues,” he said.

“The committee will place the Digital Security Bill before parliament after bringing necessary amendments,” said Salman F Rahman.

Editors’ Council Secretary and The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam said that they have objected eight sections of the draft law. “The parliamentary committee has accepted our proposals.” In response to a query, he said that the Editors’ Council would do everything possible and ensure that rights of the journalists would not be hampered by the law.

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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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