“The fear that was predicted while enacting the digital security act is very much visible now” said by Professor Ali Riaz in a webinar on “The Digital Security Act 2018” on 5 April 2021, Monday, organized by Centre for Governance Studies. The event was moderated by the executive director of Centre for Governance Studies Zillur Rahman.
Mr. Hasanul HaqInu MP, President, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal, Former Minister, Ministry of Information, Mr. Nurul Kabir, Editor, New Age, Dr. Asif Nazrul, Professor, University of Dhaka, Dr. Manjur A. Chowdhury, Chairman, Centre for Governance Studies (CGS) were the discussants at the event. .
As a key note speaker of the event, Professor Ali Riaz Presented a summary of the findings under a research project on ‘Digital Security Act’ conducted by the CGS. In his findings, Mr Ali Riaz, Principle Investigator of the research project talked about the victims of the act and how this particular law has created a environment of fear among professionals and common people. He also said, it is surprising to see that even policemen are also victimized under this controversial law. ‘Freedom of opinion are getting franchised day by day’- Professor Ali Riaz quoted in his speech. Also he expressed his concern saying that the law has been giving a license to the power party man to go hard against the opponent. Finally, he demanded the immediate abolishment of this controversial act for promoting democractic principles and ensuring civic rights for all.
Furthermore, Asif Nazrul, a professor and law specialist also criticized the act. He said, many cases have been filed to attract the attention of the Prime Minister by her party man. Either you are victimized by the law or you will be disappeared otherwise - this is what happening in Bangladesh- he added. He suggested to use broadcast law for the media workers to minimize the harrasmants against them. In the webinar, New Age editor Nurul Kabir stated that The presence of this law has created a panic among the people so that they can not express their intellectuality at all. 'The spirit of liberation war'- a common tool used by the government everyday to oppress the opponent and without this kind of law the state cannot carry out its oppressive exploitation, he added.
On the other hand, Hasanul HaqInu MP, in his speech explained the necessity of this law for the future of digitally developed society. The problem is not the law rather the implementation procedure by law enforcement bodies and other stakeholders. He also said, every law in Bangladesh has been misused, so abolition of the law can not be an option rather it can be reviewed. On that note, he asked for suggesstions from the specialists on how to make some modification on the ill-defined terms or controversial articles based on the demand by editors council.
Lastly, Manjur Ahmed stated that every act should be based on a philosophy, but this act is no way near it. he compared this law to Frankenstein and said frankestein cant not be removed instead must be buried. He found no rationality of this law and proposed to enact another law for ensuring digial safety of common people.
At the end of the webinar, Zillur Rahman, the moderator of the webinar, said that the Digital Security Act was not related to democracy and called for its repeal.
Facebook Link of Webinar:https://fb.watch/4GB4buROsA/
Youtube Link of Webinar:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDOZdXu9NBM
( N:B: PowerPoint presentation and detailed report of the research paper, as well as picture of the webinar given as attachment )