Journalists will have to go through difficult times as the Digital Security Bill has become a law without addressing our grave concern. I don't know what would be our ultimate fate. Amid concern raised by journalists, the government had several times gave assurance that the proposed law would be amended to make it journalist-friendly. But I don't think that would be possible after the president's assent to the bill.
ACTING EDITOR, SANGBAD
We are not surprised, though I was hoping naively that the hon'ble president could exercise his constitutional authority to return the bill to the parliament for reconsideration of its draconian provisions decried by the media and civil society that he has not certainly been unaware of. As much as the law is now a fait accompli, like any other law it is not written in stone. We continue to oppose it by virtue of our constitutional right to freedom of opinion.
Iftekharuzzaman, executive director,
Transparency International Bangladesh
We demanded certain amendments to the act so police don't have the power to arrest journalists without warrant. Since the president has signed it, there is no scope for bringing changes to the act in near future. This means the scope for misuse of the law is there. However, we want to keep faith in the prime minister. At a recent press conference, she asked journalists to keep faith in her. The government has come under criticism for the law both nationally and internationally.
Monjurul ahsan bulbul
Editor-IN-CHIEF, EKUSHEY TV
This is very frustrating. The act is now a big threat to independent journalism and freedom of speech. Now the fate of journalists depends on law enforcers. There are serious risks of misuse of the law by police. Ministers had held a meeting with the editors of the national dailies and promised to raise their concern to the cabinet. Two cabinet meetings had been held since then, but nothing about the concern was discussed. It is very unfortunate.
Matiur Rahman Chowdhury
chief editor, Manab Zamin
The government has betrayed us through turning the Digital Security Bill into a law without addressing journalists and rights activists' serious concerns about several sections of the bill. Several ministers publicly promised to address the journalists' concerns. But finally they didn't do it which is tantamount to fraud. This is the most notorious law passed during the Awami League government rule.
LAWYER, SUPREME COURT
I am surprised at how the president signed the act when some senior ministers had assured us of raising in the cabinet the editors' concern over the law. In the past we saw how the section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology Act was misused against journalists. There are risks that the Digital Security Act too can be used against journalists and free thinkers. We are trying to understand what has actually happened.
EDITOR, BHORER KAGOJ
When the government passes it ignoring our requests we have no alternative than to keep mum. It's a repressive act formulated to control the freedom of media.… It's a draconian law. We're rejecting it though our rejection will have no impact.
Associate Professor, Mass
Communication and Journalism,