JS body to hold talks with stakeholders on Digital Security Act 2018
07:51 PM, July 03, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:23 PM, July 03, 2018

JS body to hold talks with stakeholders on Digital Security Act 2018 tomorrow

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Post, Telecom and ICT will hold a meeting with the stakeholders tomorrow to hear their views on the proposed Digital Security Act, 2018.

The meeting is scheduled to be held at the Jatiya Sangshad Bhaban around 3:00pm to hear their views for the second time, said a release of the Parliament Secretariat.

The parliamentary body has already invited Editors' Council, Association of Television Channel Owners and a faction of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) to attend the meeting.

Editors' Council President Golam Sarwar, editor of Daily Samakal, General Secretary Mahfuz Anam, editor and publisher of The Daily Star, BFUJ President Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul and Secretary General Omar Faruq, and ATCO President Salman F Rahman and General Secretary Shykh Seraj have been invited for the meeting, a source at the parliamentary watchdog said.

Imran Ahmed, ruling Awami League lawmaker from Sylhet-4 and also the chairman of the standing committee, will preside over the meeting.

State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak, lawmakers AKM Rahmatullah, Moazzem Hossain Ratan, Showkat Hasanur Rahman, Sharif Ahmed, Afil Uddin, Kazi Firoz Rashid and Hosne Ara Lutfa Dalia are the members of the committee.

ICT Minister Mustafa Jabbar and Law Minister Anisul Huq are also likely to attend the meeting.

The much-debated Digital Security Bill, 2018 was placed in the parliament on April 9 amid growing concerns from journalists and rights activists that freedom of the press and expression would be put to the sword if the bill is passed.

The committee has been given four weeks to place its report before the House following scrutiny of the bill.

The House on June 6 gave two more months to the parliamentary watchdog for further scrutiny of the bill.

In the face of growing demand, the parliamentary standing committee invited 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 section 8, 21, 25, 28, 29, 31, 32, and 43 of the proposed law, saying these will greatly hamper the freedom of speech and independence of journalism.

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

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