Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) on Saturday alleged that the people’s constitutional right of freedom of speech has been threatened in the name of digital security in the country.
In a press release, TIB expressed deep concern over some recent incidents of arrests of writers, journalists and other professionals who criticised various irregularities.
TIB demanded unconditional release of the arrested people and urged the government to secure people’s constitutional right of freedom of speech.
Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director of TIB, said that according to media reports, many cases were filed against journalist, teacher, writer, cartoonist, social activists and even health workers. Many were sacked and were arrested as they criticised some recent issues of irregularities.
“I want to insist the authorities concern… please respond to the criticism with your work and take the incidents of irregularities seriously to control them,” he said.“Don’t walk on the path of autocracy by controlling and restricting the different opinions,” he said.
Referring to the recent incident of missing journalist Shafiqul Islam who was sued for illegal trespassing, Iftekharuzzaman said such incidents go against the announcement of ‘Zero Tolerance’ against corruption by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Quoting media reports, TIB disclosed that 180 journalists were sued from the beginning of 2018 to June 2019.After coronavirus outbreak, 67 cases were filed under the Digital Security Act. Among them, 37 were filed against journalists, the organisation said.
Besides, on charge of spreading rumours on social media, 88 people including cartoonist and journalists were arrested. TIB believes that such arrests and repression violate the rule of law, the release said.