His remarks came several days after the Editors’ Council issued a statement where it expressed disappointment that specific promises made by three ministers
The Editors’ Council is apparently not fully informed on how the government is meeting their demandsregarding the Digital Security Act, says the information minister.
“We had promised the Editors’ Council that their concerns and demands will be discussed in the Cabinet meeting. What we did not mention was which meeting,” Hasanul Haq Inu told reporters after a program at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Monday afternoon.
His remarks came several days after the Editors’ Council issued a statement where it expressed disappointment that specific promises made by three ministers, including Inu, and the information advisor to the prime minister about taking the editors’ concerns to the Cabinet and opening the process of discussions with all stakeholders to prepare an amended version of the Act “was not honoured.”
The editors also said that they had considered it to be a breach of trust.
Amid concerns from various quarters, Digital Security Bill 2018 was passed in parliament on September 19 and signed into law by the president earlier this month, to deal with cyber crimes, including hurting religious sentiments, negative propaganda against the Liberation War and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and illegal activities in e-transactions and spreading defamatory data.
But before its passage and till now, the law has been facing vocal opposition from editors, journalists, and rights campaigners, who say it would quash freedom of speech – especially on social media –andwould undermine responsible journalism.
“These matterswere discussed quite exhaustively at today’s [Monday] Cabinet meeting,” the information minister said, adding: “The prime minister and the home minister had also weighed in during the discussion.”
He said that the Digital Security Act was not directed at journalists.“The prime minister has said thatthis law has been promulgated to protect children, for protection from hackers and other cyber criminals. It does not in any way target the journalists.”
“However, if there is anything else to add, the concerned authorities and ministrieswill discuss the matter,”Inu added.
The Editors’ Council yesterday had also organized a human chain in front of the Press Club,demandingamendments to a number of sections of the recently passed act.