Editors for revoking sec 32 of draft Digital Security Act

Editors for revoking section 32 of Digital Security Act

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Dhaka, Feb 6 – Expressing its grave concern over section 32 of the proposed Digital Security Act, Editors’ Council on Tuesday urged the government to revoke the section and other controversial ones from the law.The council made the call in a statement issued after a meeting held at The Daily Star Centre with his President Golam Sarwar in the chair.
The Editors’ Council thinks the provision of the nature of offence and punishment for digital spying will hurt the basic values of democracy and the freedom of expression. “At the same time, it’ll create an atmosphere to suppressing free journalism.”
It said gathering secret information of a government office using electronic devices is defined as digital spying and there is a provision of harsh punishment for it — highest 14 years’ imprisonment or maximum Tk 25 lakh fine or both.
Besides, the issues of defamation, hurting religious sentiments, tarnishing state’s image, destroying communal harmony and deteriorating the law and order of section 57 of the ICT Act have been included in the proposed law without specific explanations, the statement said, adding that in the name of amending this law, these issues have been divided in four sections in the Digital Security Act with provisions of separate punishment.
The editors also called for involving the stakeholders concerned in the process of formulate a new law dissolving an old one.
They said sections 54, 55, 56, 57 and 66 of the ICT Act have been kept tactfully in sections 25, 28, 29 and 31 of the proposed Digital Security Act.
The Editors’ Council thinks the proposed law is stricter which will shrink open journalism and the freedom of expression, demanding finalising the law after discussions with the stakeholders concerned.
Samakal Editor Golam Sarwar, The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam, Manabzamin Editor Matiur Rahman Chowdhury, News Today Editor Reazuddin Ahmed, Financial Express Editor AHM Moazzem Hossain, Sangbad acting Editor Khandaker Muniruzzaman, New Age Editor Nurul Kabir, Bhorer Kagoj Editor Shyamal Dutta, Bangladesh Protidin Editor Nayeem Nizam, Daily Nayadiganta Editor Alamgir Mohiuddin, Jugantor acting Editor Saiful Alam, Bonikbarta Editor Dewan Hanif Mahmud, Independent Editor M Shamsur Rahman, Azadi Editor MA Malek, Inqilab Editor AMM Bahauddin, Korotoa Editor M Mozammel, Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan and Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman attended the meeting. – UNB

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