• Monday, Sep 27, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:33 pm

News Analysis: What about an ordinary person's right to privacy?

  • Published at 06:42 pm August 17th, 2020

Is it too much to ask that the deference that the law enforcers show to VIPs and the vigilance they exercise on their behalf be extended to the general public, or is it to be one law for the powerful and another for the rest of us?

In Bangladesh saying things deemed to be demeaning to VIPs can land one in jail. 

If you post something on your Facebook account or any other social media platform that appears or is perceived to be "bad" for the image of any VIP, you will be in big trouble. 

In all likelihood you will face charges under the Digital Security Act and find yourself in jail even before you get a chance to defend yourself or get any scope to give an explanation in justification of the views or opinions you have expressed. 

Also Read- HC to hear writ seeking action against posting Shipra’s photos on Facebook Tuesday

In most of the cases, the high-up people having tremendous socio-political clout and "a good image" do not bother much about who is posting what about them on social media. 

But law enforcers act on their own after seeing these posts in cyberspace, which is under surveillance by different state apparatuses round the clock. 

And more interestingly, another group of people are increasingly coming up in great numbers as plaintiffs of such cases, who basically claim themselves as fans, supporters, or party adherents of people of "good image" and take upon themselves the responsibility to respond to any perceived image-denting slight, either real or imagined. 

On behalf of their bosses, leaders, and gurus, they take the "insults" upon themselves and hurry to the police stations to file cases against people they claim are damaging the image of their beloved VIP.

And of course, the law enforcers are very quick to take cognizance of the case.

However, when it comes to the general public — the same official keenness is totally and notably absent. 

Unfortunately, when people having no social or political clout fall victim to cyberbullying or worse, they don't find the law quite so keen to spring to their defense. 

Take Shipra Rani Debnath’s case for instance. She was a member of Major (Retd) Sinha's ‘Just Go’ travel-tourism YouTube channel team, and was in Cox’s Bazar on the fateful night of July 31 when the young man was gunned down in a police shooting. 

Also Read- Shipra: We were searched, detained without warrant

Now, while a probe is underway according to the unequivocal directive of the highest power of the state and the people of the country are expecting justice for this shocking crime, our cyberspace is abuzz with scores of underground platforms dishing out vicious and unfounded messages round the clock. 

Some of these platforms even took it upon themselves to project Shipra's up close pictures with the ulterior motive to cast utterly unfounded and unacceptable aspersions on her character. 

These platforms may think of themselves as the "moral police" but neither do they have any authority to do so nor do they expose as immoral anyone but themselves.

Most importantly these posts have nothing to do with Sinha's killing incident and most crucially these sinister cybergroups are totally illegally infringing the privacy, protected by law, of an individual, in this instance (and surely not coincidentally), a woman. 

Unfortunately, we are seeing no action on the part of our otherwise apparently very pro-active law enforcers in taking any steps against these cyberspace offenders.

Is it too much to ask that the deference that the law enforcers show to VIPs and the vigilance they exercise on their behalf be extended to the general public, or is it to be one law for the powerful and another for the rest of us?

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