Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday dismissed any possibility of talks with the Sampadak Parishad (Editors' Council) on the Digital Security Act, saying there is no scope for discussions as the law has already been enacted.
She made the comment at a cabinet meeting after two ministers informed her about the Parishad's concern over some sections of the law, according to a minister who attended the meeting.
“There is no need to hold talks on the law that has already been passed. The law was enacted after holding discussions,” the minister quoted the PM as saying.
When the cabinet meeting was underway at the Secretariat, the Sampadak Parishad, a platform of the editors of the country's leading newspapers, was holding a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club to press for proper amendments to nine sections of the law.
At one stage of the meeting, Law Minister Anisul Huq and Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu drew the prime minister's attention to the editors' concern. In reply, the PM clarified her stance on the matter, said sources at the cabinet meeting.
She said “the same law” exists in the United Kingdom and that the law is “tougher” there, according the sources.
The Digital Security Act was formulated to deal with those who take positions against the country and the spirit of the Liberation War, she added.
Following the passage of the Digital Security Bill in parliament on September 19, Sampadak Parishad announced that it will hold a human chain in front of the Jatiya Press Club on September 29.
But later, the programme was postponed at the request of the information minister, who also promised to bring the law minister and the posts, telecommunications and IT minister to a discussion with the editors on September 30.
The three ministers and one adviser to the prime minister, in the September 30 meeting, committed to take the editors' concerns to the meeting of the cabinet either on October 3 or the next one on October 8.
But no discussion was held about the act at the two meetings.
Later on October 8, President Abdul Hamid signed the Digital Security Bill into law.