Tuesday, October 16, 2018 | ePaper

Freedom of expression is a must for a free nation

  • Print
WE welcome the United Nation's call for an urgent revision of the Digital Security Act in a bid to ensure checks and balances against arbitrary arrests and other undue restrictions.  Newspapers reported that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has drawn serious concerns over press freedom and the right to freedom of expression and modify the Act to align with international human rights law to provide checks and balances against arbitrary arrest, detention, and other undue restrictions of the rights of individuals to the legitimate exercise of their freedom of expression and opinion.
The government has devised the Act as a shield to control the political sphere and anti-government political campaign, research and investigative journalism and people's criticism. It will not only restrict free expression but also restrict the Constitutional rights of people.
The UN observed that the Act could have a severe impact on the work of journalists, bloggers, commentators and historians and also penalises the legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of expression by any other individual, including on social media. The law contains vague provisions that could impose long-term prison sentences of up to seven years or a fine for any statement posted online that might disrupt the law and order situation, hurt religious feelings or ruin communal harmony.
The Act gives the police wide powers of search and arrest without warrant. Many of the offences in the Act are unbailable. The law stands against Bangladesh's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Despite pledges by the concerned circles and Editors' Council to amend the problematic provisions, President Abdul Hamid on Monday signed it.
We call upon the government to bin the law immediately. By throttling people's expression and criticism, no arbitrary authority could continue in power for an uncertain period.

More News For this Category

Living standard of RMG workers should be enhanced

THE workers of readymade garment sector in Bangladesh earn poverty-level wages. Not only that, they continue to work excessively long hours for little money. Whereas, the government and the industry

Question paper leakage continues: Incompetence is everywhere

QUESTION paper leaks have become epidemic before all public exams, university admission tests, and job recruitment tests during the current administration allegedly by some students and unscrupulous teachers along with

A different way to measure our wealth

Kamal Ahmed :How do you measure the value and success of the economy?Traditionally, by reporting on gross domestic product - the amount an economy produces of goods like cars and

Going full circle for growth

Li Yong and Hong Joo Hahm :The business case for making our economy more sustainable is clear. Globally, transitioning to a circular economy - where materials are reused, re-manufactured or

Religion should not be used to sow divisions

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev :Religion has been, and remains, an immense spiritual  force for good in our world. The shared values which underpin all world's major faiths have positively moulded how we

Readers’ Forum

Save HilsaThe Hilsa - the national fish of Bangladesh - is a very important fish for us. Besides its great taste and flavour, it is also a great source of

Utility service providers must work under one umbrella

MOST chiefs of utility service providing organisations do not attend coordination meetings called by the Mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) defying an order of the Prime Minister's Office.

Take seriously the promise made to the editors

The Editors' Council will form a human chain in front of the National Press Club today (Monday) to press for amendments to nine sections of the Digital Security Act. Earlier,

Parliament to govern the government

Dr. Forqan Uddin Ahmed :Parliament is the national legislative body having supreme legislative powers in the state. It can be termed; the symbol of democracy. Bangladesh is a newly born

Mother nature can help us deal with her water disasters

Vladimir Smakhtin :Almost every day we hear news about catastrophic flooding or drought somewhere in the world. And many nations and regions are on track for even more extreme water