Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has expressed deep concerns over the draft Digital Security Act approved on Monday, describing it as a “threat to the freedom of speech, expression, and the safety of citizens.”
In a press release on Thursday, TIB urged the government to immediately amend controversial provisions of the act, which it said contradicts the constitutional rights of free speech, expression, and all international conventions on the rights of the people.
"Due to the scope for defamation, fraud and misuse by spying and intelligence, it will threaten the people’s constitutional rights, instead of safeguarding national security, freedom of speech and expression,” TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said in the statement.
Dr Zaman described Section 32 of the Digital Security Act as reflection of Section 3 from the Official Secrets Act 1923, which does not require proof of guilt to prosecute accused spies.
The possibility of publishing factual information on the internet will be restricted if the draft act is enacted in parliament, which would be a suicidal approach to Bangladesh’s democratic advancement, the statement read.
“The proposed act can be widely misused by investigation officers, as it would give them the authority to check and arrest a person without a warrant,” it added.