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President signs Digital Security Bill into law

  • Published at 01:13 pm October 8th, 2018
digital security
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On September 19, parliament passed the much-talked-about bill

President Abdul Hamid has assented to the much-talked-about Digital Security Bill 2018.  

The president’s Press Secretary Jainal Abedin confirmed the matter on Monday, reports UNB. 

The 22nd session of the 10th parliament, which was prorogued on September 20, passed a total of 18 bills, including the Digital Security Bill 2018 and Road Transport Bill 2018.

Last week, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chowdhury sent the bill to the president for his approval.

Also Read-Digital Security Bill passes amid free speech concerns

Amid concerns from various quarters, the Parliament passed the bill earlier on September 19 to deal with cybercrimes, including hurting religious sentiment, negative propaganda against the Liberation War and Bangabandhu, and illegal activities in e-transactions and spreading defamatory data.

The law has faced vocal opposition from journalists and rights campaigners who say it could quash freedom of speech – especially on social media –and would undermine responsible journalism.  

Also Read-PM: Nothing to worry about Digital Security Act

The new law provides for a minimum of seven years and a maximum of fourteen years’ imprisonment, as well as monetary fines of a minimum of Tk25 lakh and maximum of Tk1 crore, or both, for illegal access and destruction of any important information related to state affairs.

After a meeting with the Editors' Council on September 30, Law Minister Anisul Huq said the Editors' Council's objections to nine sections of the 'Digital Security Bill' and its demand for amending those would be placed before the Cabinet for discussions.

BNP has also urged the citizens to put up a strong resistance against the bill, terming it a dangerous 'black' law.

Also Read-Why the Editors' Council opposes the Digital Security Act

"We don't accept today's law (Digital Security Law). In fact, we don't accept any law of this government as those were passed in a parliament which has no legitimacy," said BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

However, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, defending the law, said: “I've seen several noted editors, journalists and intellectuals of society have given their opinions against it. They're only concerned about whether their voice is repressed. But that will not be the case." 

Addressing a press conference on October 1, the prime minister said the journalists who do not provide false news need not to be worried over the upcoming law.