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Editors’ Council condemns passage of Digital Security Act

  • Published at 09:39 pm September 22nd, 2018
Digital Security act
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The body will stage a human chain protest against the Act on September 29

The Editors’ Council has expressed its “deep regret” at the passage of the Digital Security Act 2018.

The body said it considers the Act to be “against the freedom guaranteed by the constitution, media freedom and freedom of speech.”

It also decided to stage a human chain protest against the Act on September 29 in front of the National Press Club at 11am.

The decision came from Saturday’s meeting held at The Daily Star Centre, the Editors’ Council said in a statement. Reazuddin Ahmed, the founding editor of News Today, chaired the meeting.

The Editors’ Council has urged all journalists, media bodies and media personnel to join the protest.

The statement was signed by News Today’s founding Editor Reazuddin Ahmed, Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman, The Daily Star’s Mahfuz Anam, Dhaka Tribune’s Zafar Sobhan, Manabzamin’s Matiur Rahman Chowdhury, Sangbad’s Acting Editor Khandaker Muniruzzaman, New Age Editor Nurul Kabir, Kaler Kantho’s Imdadul Haq Milan, Bangladesh Pratidin’s Naem Nizam, Naya Diganta’s Alamgir Mohiuddin, Daily Inqilab’s AMM Bahauddin, Dainik Azadi’s MA Malek, Karatoa’s Md Mozammel Haque, The Independent’s M Shamsur Rahman, JugantorActing Editor Saiful Alam, Bonik Barta Editor Dewan Hanif Mahmud, Shamakal’s Associate Editor Sabuj Younus, and Financial ExpressJoint Editor Shamsul Huq Zahid.

The Digital Security Bill 2018 was passed on September 19 with stiff penalties for a wide variety of cyber infractions.

Journalists and rights campaigners say the law could quash freedom of speech, especially on social media, and would undermine responsible journalism.

The new law provides for a minimum of seven years and a maximum of 14 years’ imprisonment and monetary fines of a minimum of Tk2.5 million and a maximum of Tk10 million, or both, for illegal access and destruction of any important information related to state affairs.

“The punishment will be life imprisonment and a monetary fine of Tk5 crore (Tk50 million) for second offenders,” Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Minister Mostafa Jabbar said when tabling the bill in Parliament.