Thursday, January 17, 2019 | ePaper

Human chain by Editors' Council

Amend 9 sections of Digital Security Act

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Editors' Council formed a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club on Monday demanding amendment to 9 sections of recently enacted Digital Security Act.

Staff Reporter :
Editors' Council on Monday demanded amendments to nine sections of the newly enacted Digital Security Act, which the council feared to be misused to gag the media.
The council made this demand from a human chain held in front of the Jatiya Press Club under the banner of Sampadak Parishad (Editors Council), an association of newspaper editors in Bangladesh.
To protect the cause of independent journalism and freedom of expression, sections 8, 21, 25, 28, 29, 31, 32, 43 and 53 of the Digital Security Act needs to be duly amended.
The Editors' Council also demanded that the proposed changes should be brought in the upcoming session of the parliament to ensure freedom of media and independent journalism.
Editor and Publisher of The Daily Star and Secretary General of the Editors' Council Mahfuz Anam read out the demands at the human chain
Mahfuz Anam said the Editors' Council is open to any discussion on amending the law. "But we don't want to see any farce in the name of discussion."

Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman, New Age editor Nurul Kabir, The Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam, Bhorer Kagoj editor Shyamal Dutta, Kaler Kantho editor Imdadul Haq Milan, Bangladesh Pratidin editor Naem Nizam, Naya Diganta editor Alamgir Mohiuddin, The Independent editor M Shamsur Rahman, Manabzamin editor Matiur Rahman Chowdhury, Daily Inqilab editor AMM Bahauddin, Dainik Azadi editor M A Malek, Karatoa editor Md Mozammel Haque, Sangbad acting editor Khandaker Muniruzzaman, Jugantor acting editor Saiful Alam, Bonik Barta editor Dewan Hanif Mahmud, Dhaka Tribune editor Zafar Sobhan, Samakal acting editor Mustafiz Shafi and Financial Express acting editor Shahiduzzaman Khan gathered in front of the Press Club around 11:15am and formed the human chain.
The Editors' Council demanded that in conducting a search in any media institution by police or any other body; they should only be permitted to block specific content, not to shut down any computer system. In blocking content, they should do so only after discussion with the editor with reasonable proof of why such content should be blocked.
It also said in blocking or confiscating any computer system of a media house, prior order from the High Court must be obtained.
The council said in case of offences relating to the performance of journalistic duty by media professionals, they must be issued summons to appear before a court (as in the law now), and under no circumstances, media professionals be detained or arrested without a warrant and due process of law.
It said instances of offences made by media professionals should be routed through the Press Council to establish prima facie case. For this purpose, the Press Council may be strengthened appropriately.      
Earlier the council had called a human chain for September 29 but postponed it at the request of Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu.
On September 19, the parliament passed the Digital Security Bill.
President Abdul Hamid on October 8 assented to Digital Security Bill transforming it into an act.

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