• Monday, Jan 30, 2023
  • Last Update : 09:54 am

Digital Security Act to limit journalistic investigation

  • Published at 04:34 pm January 30th, 2018
  • Last updated at 06:40 pm January 30th, 2018
Digital Security Act to limit journalistic investigation
Journalists, online activists and lawyers who expose irregularities in government organizations could be hit with 14-year jail terms and maximum fines of Tk20 lakh if the draft Digital Security Act 2018 approved by the government on Monday is signed into law. Critics of the proposed legislation have claimed Section 32 could be used to frame espionage charges against anyone who gains unauthorized access to information held by government organs. “If any section of the law turns out to be an impediment to the execution of the professional works of journalists, we are against it,” Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists President Manjurul Ahsan Bulbul said.
Also Read- Digital Security Act draft approved, Section 57 repealed
The BFUJ leader - who is also Chief Executive of Ekushey Television - recognised the need for a relevant law to control modern technologies and ensure the security of the nation and its people, keeping in mind the need to fight against militancy. “But in no way should it go against the professional endeavours of the journalists or their freedom of expression,” he said. “Before finalizing any law relevant to the freedom of mass media or freedom of expression, the editors of different media as well as teachers of media studies must be consulted. “If any law appears to be in conflict with the freedom of expression, we must act to set it right through discussions before it is finally approved by the parliament.”
Also Read- Is it now a crime to record illegal activities?
Cabinet Division Secretary Shofiul Alam defended section 32 of the draft act  at a briefing with reporters on Monday. “The journalists have not been targeted in any of the sections of the law,” he said. This attempt at reassurance was rejected by online activist, Afif Jebtik. “Section 32 has been placed in the law to protect government officers in particular,” he said. “If such a section is kept (in the final law), neither the journalists nor the common people will be able to speak out against the hassles.” Supreme Court lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua noted how easily a journalist could be sued under section 32.
Also Read- Tofail: Digital Security Act to stop journos from writing against MPs
“Why should the one trying to expose a crime be held as a criminal?” she asked. “Why won't I be able to record something wrong happening before my eyes? If I try to copy classified government records, we have the Official Secrecy Act for that.” Jyotirmoy said the right to information ensures good governance - “the biggest challenge for running the state”. She said: “It is not acceptable when any law is enacted effecting or constraining our works. It will narrow down the domain of journalism.” The draft law approved by the Cabinet Division on Monday has already been criticized for incorporating in its different sections the much derided provisions of section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology Act.   This article was first published on banglatribune.com
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail