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Don't include Sec 57 in other acts in any form: TIB

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Staff Reporter  :
Executive Director of Transparency International, Bangladesh [TIB] Dr Iftekheruzzaman has cautioned the authorities concerned not to include most controversial Section 57 of the ICT Act in any form in Digital Security Act or other such acts.
Welcoming Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu's recent assurance about annulment of Section 57, he said, "The government must not introduce any act which could be conflicting with the freedom of expression and other such international laws."
Dr Iftekheruzzaman was addressing a dialogue organized by TIB marking an award giving programme titled "Investigative Journalism Awards-2017" organized at its Dhanmondi office in the city on Thursday.
Prime Minister's International Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi attended the dialogue as the Chief Guest.
The dialogue was a part of TIB's week-long programmes on the eve of UN declared International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9.
Presided over by TIB's Trustee Board member Dr ATM Shamshul Huda, the occasion was also addressed by M Hafizuddin Khan, Prof Dr Sumaiya Khaiyer, Executive Editor of Daily Samakal Mustafiz Shafi, News Editor of Bangla Vision Sharmeen Rinvi and Senior Reporter of Prothom Alo Iftekhar Mahmood, among others.
Earlier different organizations, including Amnesty International, had criticised the Section 57 of ICT Act saying the act is often used by the Bangladeshi authorities to target, harass and imprison critics. They said under this draconian law, an individual can face up to 14 years in jail for 'publishing fake, obscene or defaming information in electronic form' or information which 'prejudices the image of the state or person.'
Meanwhile, pointing the obstacles over freedom of expression, most of the speakers chorused that an uneasy situation has been prevailing in the country where the government has to lose its image due to irregularities of some corrupted people.
In this situation, they alleged, the media cannot play positive role by publishing corruption news despite obtaining enough information and documents in their hands.
Taking part in the dialogue, Dr Gowher Rizvi urged all to stay alert against the corrupted persons in the government.
 "If there is corruption, it is impossible to alleviate poverty from a country. So therefore, we have to stay alert against the corrupted people as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed to alleviate poverty from the country," he said.
Dr Rizvi said, "The persons, who create obstacles for investigative journalism, do so for their self interests…  There is no directive from the government in this regard."
ATM Shamsul Huda, also former Chief Election, said there is no friendly environment in the country to facilitate investigative journalism. "It is very difficult for a journalist to work on an investigative report," he opined.  

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