Newspaper editors reiterate their objections to some sections of the recently passed law
The Editors’ Council will hold a press conference at the National Press Club on Saturday noon to reiterate its demand that the Digital Security Act be amended to protect the freedom of speech, independent journalism, and media institutions from the threat of police intervention and arbitrary arrest.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the platform of newspaper editors held at The Daily Star Centre in Dhaka on Thursday, with Daily Ittefaq Editor Tasmima Hossain in the chair, according to a statement issued after the meeting.
The statement said the council accepted the need for strengthening cyber security through an appropriate legal framework but opposed some specific sections – namely 8, 21, 25, 28, 29, 31, 32, 43 and 53 – of the act recently signed into law by President Md Abdul Hamid.
The council expressed disappointment that the specific promise made by three ministers and the information advisor to the prime minister, about taking its concerns to the Cabinet and opening the process of discussions with all stakeholders to prepare an amended version of the act “was not honoured,” and considered it to be a breach of trust.
The editors also demanded that the Digital Security Act be amended in the next session of parliament which will be held in thenear future.
“We [Editors’ Council] consider this to be a good opportunity to respond to the concerns of all journalists and citizens in general who consider the act as a serious threat to freedom of speech and freedom of expression."
In the statement, the council reiterated that the act passed in parliament last month, was against:
The rights to freedom of speech and freedom of press as guaranteed by the constitution’s Article 39 (a) and (b); the values of freedom, free speech and rights enshrined in the spirit of the 1971 Liberation War; the fundamental norms of democracy, free society and fundamental rights guaranteed in the United Nations Charter and other international laws and instruments; and the core values of ethical and independent journalism.
The signatories of the statement issued by Ittefaq Editor Tasmima Hossain, included News Today Founding Editor Reazuddin Ahmed, Manabzamin Editor Matiur Rahman Chowdhury, New Age Editor Nurul Kabir, Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman, The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam, Bhorer Kagoj Editor Shyamal Dutta, Bangladesh Pratidin Editor Naem Nizam, Kaler Kantho Editor Imdadul Haq Milan,
Dhaka Tribune Editor Zafar Sobhan, Naya Diganta Editor Alamgir Mohiuddin, Dainik Azadi Editor MA Malek, Karatoa Editor Md Mozammel Haque, Daily Inqilab Editor AMM Bahauddin, The Independent Editor M Shamsur Rahman, Sangbad Acting Editor Khandaker Muniruzzaman, Jugantor Acting Editor Saiful Alam, Bonik Barta Editor Dewan Hanif Mahmud, The Financial Express Acting Editor Shahiduzzaman Khan, and Samakal Acting Editor Mustafiz Shafi.