Digital Security Act not to harass journalists: Inu
Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu today said the government is going to formulate the Digital Security Act to ensure common people's digital security, not to harass journalists.
"We're going to enact the Digital Security Act to ensure the security of your digital information as well as the country's security. It's also meant for protecting country's democracy and society as well," he said.
The minister came up with the remarks while speaking as the chief guest at the inaugural session of the annual conference of the district correspondents of United News of Bangladesh (UNB) at its Cosmos Centre conference room in the city.
Urging journalists to take the proposed digital security law positively, he assured them that it will bring no harm to them as it is going to be passed for the protection of the country's people.
State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak made a presentation titled 'Digital Bangladesh: A Story of Transformation' at the programme.
Former Dhaka University Vice-Chancellor Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique, UNB Chairman Amanullah Khan, its Editor-in-Chief Enayetullah Khan, Director Nahar Khan and Editor SAM Mahfuzur Rahman also spoke on the occasion.
In his presentation, Palak said the country's nearly 8 crore people are now using the Internet. "Of them, 90 percent read news online. So, journalists must be very careful about filing their reports maintaining accuracy."
Mentioning that the Internet had a bad effect on the elections of 14 countries in recent years, he called upon the journalists to remain aware while filing reports on Bangladesh's upcoming election.
Referring to the attacks on Hindu community members in Rangpur and Brahmanbaria based on false information hurting religious sentiments on social media, Palak said the two incidents exposed how a society can badly be affected with false and fake information.
The state minster also focused on making stories on people's successes as a success story can motivate and influence thousands of youths.
He said 'Digital Bangladesh' is not only a mere slogan, but also a philosophy of revolution for the country's development. "Around 40 percent government services have already been brought under online services."
Palak said they have a target to bring the country's all citizens under the Internet coverage by 2021.
He said they also have a target to equip 20 lakh youths with ICT knowledge through a 'Learning and Earning Project' to cut the unemployment rate.
Prof Arefin Siddique urged the UNB correspondents to make precise reports with objectivity, accuracy and fairness. "It's not always possible to make reports with absolute truth. But journalists must produce their reports with functional truth without any distortion."
He also said a journalist must be accountable to himself or herself first to make an objective report with fairness. "You can't influence your report with your belief, values, like or dislike as it's tantamount to deceiving the profession."
UNB Chairman Amanullah Khan focused on proper verification of information, crosschecking it and maintaining accuracy while filing reports. "The spread of fake news has recently taken an acute turn. We must check it. We also must prevent rumour and propaganda."
He also asked the UNB correspondents not to indulge in any type of anti-state activities and avoid negative news as much as possible.
UNB Editor-in-Chief and Chief Executive Enayetullah Khan briefly described the history of UNB which began its journey in 1988 as the first fully-computerised wire service in the private sector in South Asia.
He said UNB has been maintaining objectivity since its inception and providing news of both the ruling and opposition parties without any biasness.
Enayetullah Khan urged the UNB correspondents to work sincerely for their organisation as well for the welfare of the country and its people through their objective reports.
UNB director Nahar Khan emphasised filing positive stories more and more to help the nation earn good image across the world.
Some 100 UNB journalists from across the country, including those who work in Dhaka, are attending the daylong conference.