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Arrests cannot be made under Sec 57 without probe: IGP

13 November 2017 bdnews24.com


Inspector General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque has assured journalists that they cannot be arrested under the Information and Communication Technology Act without an investigation.
The Bangladesh Police chief made the statement during a conference with journalists at the Chandpur Press Club Auditorium on Saturday. "A journalist will not be harassed or arrested under a Section 57 case without an investigation," IGP Hoque said. Many Section 57 cases have been pouring in from across the country, the IGP said. "So, an instruction from the police headquarters has been issued on this matter."
However, he has ordered legal proceedings in a couple of cases where the investigation found evidence, he said.
Journalists and human rights workers have been calling for the repeal of Section-57, after a flurry of cases filed against journalists over their news reports or Facebook posts. The controversial ICT law has drawn criticism from media and rights activists who say the particular provision-Section 57 -- effectively muzzles the freedom of speech and expression. Section 57 criminalises 'publishing fake, obscene or defaming information in electronic form.' An offence, which is non-bailable under the law, is punishable by at least seven years to a maximum of 14 years in jail. Fines in such cases can be as high as Tk 10 million.
The ICT Act was created in 2006 and revised twice in 2009 and 2013. The latest revision increased the maximum jail sentence from 10 years to 14 years and made offences under Section 57 non-bailable.

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