JS body given one month for digital security bill scrutiny | The Daily Star
02:58 AM, September 11, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:00 AM, September 11, 2018

JS body given one month for digital security bill scrutiny

Parliament yesterday gave the committee concerned another month for further scrutiny of the Digital Security Bill-2018.

Imran Ahmed, Awami League lawmaker from Sylhet-4 and also the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Post, Telecom and ICT, submitted the request, which was passed by a voice vote in the Jatiya Sangsad.

Earlier on June 6, the House had given two more months to the parliamentary committee for scrutiny of the bill.

While placing his proposal, Imran told the parliament that the committee needed more time for further scrutiny as the bill was very important.

The much-debated Digital Security Bill was placed in parliament on April 9 amid growing concerns from journalists and rights activists that freedom of the press and expression would jeopardised if the bill was passed. The parliamentary watchdog had then been given an additional four weeks to submit its report before the House.

In the face of growing demand, the parliamentary standing committee invited the Editors' Council, Association of Television Channel Owners (ATCO) and a faction of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) to a meeting on May 22 to hear their views on the bill.

At the meeting, the Editors' Council, an organisation of editors of the country's national dailies, the ATCO, and the BFUJ faction voiced concern over sections eight, 21, 25, 28, 29, 31, 32, and 43 of the proposed law, saying they would greatly hamper freedom of speech and independent journalism.

They also unanimously said several sections in the proposed law had ambiguity and loopholes that should be addressed, otherwise there would be ample scope for their misuse.

After that meeting, Law Minister Anisul Huq said they agreed to sit again with representatives of the Editors' Council, ATCO and BFUJ, once the parliamentary committee concerned revised the bill in light of the discussions.

Later, the committee again also sat with Editors' Council, ATCO and BFUJ to hear their views on the proposed law.

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