Sampadak Parishad, a platform of newspaper editors, on Thursday decided to hold a press conference on October 13 at 12 noon at the National Press Club to reiterate its demand that the Digital Security Act be amended to protect freedom of speech, independent journalism and media institutions from the threat of police intervention and arbitrary arrest.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Sampadak Parishad held today at The Daily Star Centre with the Daily Ittefaq Editor Tasmima Hossain in the chair, said a statement the Parishad issued after the meeting.
It reiterated that “The Parishad accepts the need for strengthening cyber security through an appropriate legal framework but opposes some specific sections of the Digital Security Act recently signed into law by the President, namely sections 8, 21, 25, 28, 29, 31, 32, 43 and 53.”
Sampadak Parishad expressed deep disappointment that “The specific promise made by three cabinet ministers and Information Advisor to Prime Minister about taking Sampadak Parishad’s concern to the cabinet and opening the process of discussions with all stakeholders to prepare an amended version of The Digital Security Act was not honoured.”
“It (Parishad) considers this to be a breach of trust that the Parishad had reposed, in good faith, on the commitment made by three senior cabinet ministers and Information Advisor to Prime Minister; It may be recalled that the meeting was held at the initiative of Information Minister, Hasanul Huq Inu who, while extending the invitation committed to opening a new series of discussions, a commitment that was supported by the Law Minister and the ICT minister in the meeting.” The statement read.
It further noted, “Demands that The Digital Security Act be amended, as specified above, in the next session of the present parliament which will be held in near future. We consider this to be a good opportunity to respond to the concerns of all journalists and citizens in general who consider the Digital Act as a serious threat to freedom of speech and freedom of expression.”
Sampadak Parishad stated that “Digital Scurity Act is against our rights to freedom of speech and freedom of press as guaranteed by the Constitution under Art. 39 (a) and (b); The values of freedom, free speech and rights enshrined in the Spirit of our Liberation War; The fundamental norms of democracy, free society and fundamental rights guaranteed in the UN Charter and other international laws and instruments; and the core values of ethical and independent journalism.”
The statement was issued by Tasmima Hossain, Acting Editor, Daily Ittefaq; Reazuddin Ahmed, Founding Editor, News Today; Matiur Rahman Chowdhury, Editor, Manabzamin; Nurul Kabir, Editor, New Age; Matiur Rahman, Editor, Prothom Alo; Mahfuz Anam, Editor, The Daily Star; Shyamal Dutta, Editor, Bhorer Kagoj; Naem Nizam, Editor, Bangladesh Pratidin; Imdadul Haq Milan, Editor, Kaler Kantho; Alamgir Mohiuddin, Editor, Naya Diganta; M. A. Malek, Editor, Dainik Azadi; Md. Mozammel Haque, Editor, Karatoa; AMM Bahauddin, Editor, Daily Inqilab; M Shamsur Rahman, Editor, The Independent; Khandaker Muniruzzaman, Acting Editor, Sangbad; Saiful Alam, Acting Editor, Jugantor; Dewan Hanif Mahmud, Editor, Bonik Barta; Zafar Sobhan, Editor, Dhaka Tribune; Shahiduzzaman Khan, Acting Editor, The Financial Express; and Mustafiz Shafi, Acting Editor, Samakal.unb