No innocent journalist will be harassed under Section 57: Law minister

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File photo of Law Minister Anisul Huq

Law Minister Anisul Huq today said no innocent journalist would be harassed under Section 57 of ICT Act even someone was booked under the law.

"Filing of cases (under the Section 57) is not the final thing," he told newsmen emerging from an inter-ministerial meeting on proposed Digital Security Act (DSA) at Bangladesh Secretariat.

The concerned investigation officer or authorities would scrutinise the facts thoroughly while probing the case ahead of submitting charge sheet, he said.

"I have said it before and saying it again if any obstruction is created against freedom of speech or against journalists, the investigation officers or agencies will look into it," Huq said.

The minister's comments came amid media uproars over the filing of several cases against newsmen under Section 57 of ICT Act in the recent period.

State Minister for Post and Telecommunications Tarana Halim, state minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak, secretary of home ministry's security services division Farid Uddin Ahmed Chowdhury, representatives from information ministry and different law enforcement and intelligence agencies joined the meeting.

Officials familiar with the meeting said the participants reviewed scopes of misuse of Section 57 but mostly came out with the view that such a law was crucial to prevent crimes with the use of ICT facilities.

They said until the enactment of the proposed Digital Security Act, Section 57 should be kept in place, suggesting the relevant provisions of the ICT Act could be accommodated in the new law when it would be drafted.