The four speakers who went up on the main stage of Dhaka Lit Fest at around 4:15 pm to take part in a panel discussion titled “Ruddhoshar: Bolte Keno Mana” yesterday had one opinion in common-“Voices have to be raised.”
Moderator Harun Ur Rashid, Head of News of Bangla Tribune ignited the floor by simply explaining the title of the session which meant “why there are restrictions in expressing opinions.”
And the four panelists-Blogger Arif Jebtik, Journalist Probash Amin, Columnist Rasheda Rawnak Khan and Educator Aireen Jaman vehemently went on expressing their views for the next one hour without any restriction.
They had difference of opinions, observed freedom of expression and the right to speak from their own point of views and agreed upon one thing that “Without raising voices, changes for good don’t happen.”
They also condemn the section 57 of ICT act and said that this should be abolished immediately.
Probhash Amin said that our constitution guarantees our freedom of expression under the subject of reasonable restrictions. “This restriction doesn’t mean that we cannot express our views. This restriction is there for our self-censorship so that we refrain ourselves from expressing views which hurt someone else.”
Arif Jebtik however opposed Amin’s view. He said that self-censorship is the worst kind of censorship. “We are already under a lot of censorship including that which is imposed by the state. On the top of that if we censor our own views for fear of hurting someone, changes will not take place.”
“If Galilieo stopped himself from saying that the world is not static with the thought in mind that the churches will be hurt by his statement, we wouldn’t have been able to learn the truth.”
He said that truth has to be told for the sake of truth. “If you look at history, you will see that any positive change happened because someone raised his/her voice.”
Aireen Jaman echoed Jebtik’s stance and said that in this era of communication and technology, it is hard to contain voices and opinions. “That’s why the governments want to impose rules and regulations to restrict the flow of information.”
Terming the section 57 of ICT act a black one, she said that with that provision, someone can get jailed for 14 years for posting something on Facebook which someone else might find offensive. “This is just wrong. In India, there was a similar act but their Supreme Court nullified it over a writ petition.”
Probhash Amin, Arif Jebtik Rasheda Rownak Khan also agreed with Aireen and said that this provision should be abolished immediately.
Rasheda said that there are other ways of raising voices than raising voice. “The recent rejection of aid by the Santal population in Gaibandha is a good example of that. They raised their voice with their action.”