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Tuesday, September 29, 2020 11:50:03 PM
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ICT Act needs urgent review to allow free flow of information

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30th-Sep-2020       
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Marking the International Day for Universal Access to Information on Monday, journalists and academics in a virtual discussion organised by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) in the city said, media is experiencing a suffocating situation now pointing out that 37 journalists were sued for reporting on high level corruption even during the outbreak of Covid-19 from March this year. TIB has demanded that the Digital Security Act-2018 be reviewed with its "repressive" provisions dropped to ensure the free flow of information and press freedom. It is gagging media's access to information to highlight irregularities and corruption at high places and blocking journalists from pursuing investigative journalism. Participants said free access to information is a must to make people breaking the law accountable; those breaking the news can't be made accountable and punished.  
Another figure said 67 cases were filed under the Digital Security Act during this period while at least 88 were arrested on charge of "spreading rumours and false information" under this draconian law. The keynote presented on this occasion further said 180 journalists are currently facing cases under the digital security act and section 57 of the ICT Act since early 2018. The discussants have rightly said the government is misusing the law and demanded its review at international standard.
Discussants have also rightly sounded critical for making newsmen jobless during this pandemic period and to face profession related litigation at a time many are not having regular earnings. It is an ominous sign for democracy forcing media heading towards a plunge. We have a totally corrupt government not bothered to rule of law and people's fundamental human rights. It is abusing power to stay unchallenged in power.
Need no mention that the government is using the draconian law to protect party men and wealthy cronies making illegal fortune by controlling government contracts, grabbing funds from development projects and stealing money from banks. They are opening business abroad, buying expensive homes and real estate with money stolen from the country. We join TIB to demand amendment to the ICT law to replace it by a new law which will protect media freedom to expose crimes.


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