Digital security act: Govt to ensure best practices
Law Minister Anisul Huq has said the government has taken necessary steps to ensure the best practices of the Digital Security Act, as this law has been misused and abused "to some extent".
"I have spoken to the home minister in this regard. He has issued a directive in front of me to ensure that if anybody files a case under the Digital Security Act, it will be sent to a cell, established in 2006 under the Information Communication and Technology Act, for examination.
"If the cell finds it to be a prima facie case [that has enough elementary evidence], it will be sent to the court concerned for trial. If there is no necessary [or sufficient] information or data, it will not be accepted," he said while speaking as the chief guest at a programme arranged by the Law Reporters' Forum at a city hotel on Tuesday night.
He added, "Earlier, those accused would be arrested immediately after the filing of a DSA case and it had become a practice. But steps have been taken to ensure that an accused is arrested only after the court accepts the case and considers the charges as punishable offences. Otherwise, summons will be issued."
The minister said it was stated in an editorial published recently that journalists have not seen any directive from the home ministry regarding sending of DSA cases to the cell.
"When any departmental directive is issued, its copy is not [always] circulated," he said.
He said the DSA has been formulated in order to tackle cybercrime and not to curtail the freedom of press and expression.
There are some offences, mentioned in the penal code, which are committed digitally but cannot be tried as this code only permits trials of physically committed crimes.
Anisul said the government has drafted the Personal Data Protection Act after consulting with the stakeholders to ensure press independence.
"I have already spoken to the information minister and will continue the conversation to ensure that the OTT platform regulations are not contradictory to the constitution or freedom of press and expression."
Outgoing president of LRF, Mashudul Haque, presided over the meeting, where Law and Justice Division Secretary Md Golam Sarwar, its Joint Secretary Bikash Kumar Saha, newly elected LRF President Ashutosh Sarkar and its General Secretary Ahmed Sarwar Hossain Bhuiyan and outing general secretary Muhammad Yeasin, among others, spoke.