Editors' at human chain want Digital Security Act amended

Editors’ at human chain want Digital Security Act amended

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Dhaka, Oct 15 – The Editors’ Council yesterday demanded amendment of a number of sections of the newly enacted ‘Digital Security Act.’ This law is against independent journalism and free mass media, its members said. The Council called upon the government to amend the sections 8, 21, 25, 28, 29, 31, 32, 43 and 53 of the law in the upcoming and last parliamentary session to ensure the freedom of mass media and independent journalism.
The body placed seven-point demands at a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club in the capital. Editors’ Council’s general secretary and editor of The Daily Star Mahfuz Anam read out the demands.
The other demands include police or other agencies cannot be allowed to shut down the computer system of any media house while conducting any search. The law enforcers can only be allowed to block the specific content after consultation with the respective editor of the house. The agencies have to reasonable proof why the content should be blocked.
There must have prior order from the court while blocking or confiscating the computer system of any media house.
Summon of the court has to be issued against the media professionals in order to appear before the court for any crime related to journalism. The media professionals should not be detained or arrested under any circumstances without any warrant or without following proper legal procedures.
The acceptability of filing cases against the media professionals for committing offences has to be investigated primarily by the Press Council at first. The Press Council can be strengthened for this purpose.
The demands also said the ‘Right to Information Act’ (RTI) enacted by the current Awami League government should unequivocally be given preponderance over the ‘Digital Security Act’. The RTI has ensured the freedom and rights for the citizens and the mass media and it should be protected.
Mahfuz Anam said, “We are not against the Digital Security Act. We hope the government would accept our demands and bring amendment of the certain sections to make an acceptable law.”
He also said, “We don’t think the door for discussion has been closed.
We sat with the government with trust but we did not find the reflection of our trust. We want to hold a discussion. But the discussion should be acceptable for all. It should not be the discussion for the sake of discussion.”
The Editors’ Council has been protesting various sections of the Digital Security Act before it was passed in the parliament.
Though the government is saying the law is not against fair journalism but the Council observed that when nine sections of the law will remain there it will be a bottleneck for a free press.
The human chain was attended, among others, Matiur Rahman Chowdhury, editor, Manabzamin; Matiur Rahman, editor, Prothom Alo; Nurul Kabir, editor, New Age; Khandaker Muniruzzaman, acting editor, Sangbad; Shyamal Dutta, editor, Bhorer Kagoj; Naem Nizam, editor, Bangladesh Pratidin; Imdadul Haq Milan, editor, Kaler Kantho; Saiful Alam, acting editor, Jugantor; Md Mozammel Haque, editor, Karatoa; AMM Bahauddin, editor, Daily Inqilab; Shahiduzzaman Khan, acting editor, Financial Express; M Shamsur Rahman, editor, The Independent; Zafar Sobhan, editor, Dhaka Tribune; Mostafiz Shafi, acting editor, Samakal and Dewan Hanif Mahmud, editor, Bonik Barta.
The Council on Saturday last also held a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club under the same issue and expressed concerns because their demands to amend the law have not been fulfilled though three of the government’s ministers pledged in this regard. – Staff Reporter

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