Tuesday, February 19, 2019 | ePaper

Digital Security Act

Some sections can be misused, says Shujan

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Staff Reporter :
Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan), a civil society platform, on Saturday voiced concern over Digital Security Act-2018 as several sections of the law can be misused to harass citizens and gag the press.
Shujan, in a statement said that Section 8, 28, 29 and 31 could be misused to harass citizens, gag the media and freedom of speech.
"According to the provision of the Act-2018, police can search, seize and arrest anyone without warrant. Therefore, we apprehend that police can harass general citizens abusing the law," it said.
Apart from these, Section 32 of the Act has incorporated the colonial Official Secrets Act-1923 in terms of digital surveillance, which may create a corruption-inducement atmosphere, it observed.
The Information Communication Technology Act (ICT Act), which has now become obsolete with the passing of the Digital Security Act, was used to arrest hundreds of people in the last six years. In view of this, different stakeholders approached with different pieces of advice and demands before the passing of the new law, but the government did not pay heed to them, the civil society platform said.
Rather the bygone draconian Section-57 of the ICT Act has been kept unchanged through coining new terms, lessening punishment in some cases in Section 25, 28, 29 and 31 in the new Digital Security Act.
Shujan opined that in any civilized and democratic country assent and dissenting voice are common. "Our laws and the Constitution have ensured the freedom of thoughts and expression, whereas, passing this kind of retrograde is regrettable. We think, this law will curb freedom of expression and will create a sense of insecurity among the citizens."
It urged the government to cancel the retrograde sections of the law and bring out necessary amendments.

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