Reiterating that the Digital Security Act-2018 was not aimed at suppressing freedom of speech or freedom of press, Law Minister Anisul Huq on Tuesday said that steps have been taken to address the problems in the law. Digital Security Act was enacted not to suppress freedom of expression rather to protect citizens and stop spreading of lies or hate speeches in social media. When the government approved the Digital Security Act 2018, Journalists and rights activists instantly expressed their concerns over the new law fearing that the law will curb free journalism and pave the way for mass harassment. However, the government overruled their apprehension saying that the Digital Security Law has nothing outside the Code of Criminal Procedure provisions.
It is worth noting that we never had any specific law against hacking and theft of data until this Act. Hence, it was not easy to prosecute hacking of data and defend cyber space. In Bangladesh, false news and propaganda have long been used as an instrument for creating violence by the anti-liberation forces. We have seen how after August 15, 1975 the BNP and Jamaat distorted the history of our Independence and the true story of the Father of the Nation. BNP and Jamaat used these distortions to justify bringing back of war criminals and giving them high ranking positions in the government, along with giving the killers of Bangabandhu choice postings in various Bangladeshi embassies. Also, in recent times we have experienced conspiracies made by anti-liberation forces to hinder the country’s development and defame the government. It needs no emphasizing that digital security act will help the country prevent such practices in future.
Debates over the act is giving birth to new
suggestions from journalists and lawyers
which might help the government bring
about necessary changes in it
Bangladesh is marching forward towards achieving the reality of ‘Digital Bangladesh’ and in this regard, we must give due importance towards reinforcing a strong digital security system in the country. Digital security act is a very common phenomenon in first world countries. But unfortunately misinterpreting the doctrines of the act, many journalists and rights activists in Bangladesh have expressed concerns over the new law fearing that the law would curb free journalism and pave the way for mass harassment. This is not true by any means. We have a large number of independent televisions and newspapers and they are fully free to express their opinions and even criticise the government. The government of Bangladesh gives its full support to all the media houses to carry forth their duties. Also, the government encourages all media to be mouthpiece of the people including minorities.
Freedom and democracy are the building blocks of a civilized nation and in order to safeguard freedom and democracy in this modern world, proper enactment of digital security law is inevitable. We believe debates over the act is giving birth to new suggestions from journalists and lawyers which might help the government bring about necessary changes in the act.