Digital Security Bill gets President’s assent

08 Oct,2018

BDchronicle; Dhaka:
Amid widespread criticism and concerns over free speech, President Abdul Hamid has signed the Digital Security Bill; thereby enacting it as a law. 

His Press Secretary Joynal Abedin has confirmed the assent of the president this afternoon.

The move comes before a pledged meeting with newspaper editors, who raised serious concerns with its potential threat to free speech and freedom of expression.

Also, the law, termed draconian by independent organisations both at home and abroad, was drafted and passed in parliament ignoring the concerns in the first place.

But even after parliament passage, the government assured the Sampadak Parishad (Editors' Council) and journalist leaders of a sitting to draw acceptable changes. 

Serious concerns have been raised repeatedly over sections 8, 21, 25, 28, 29, 31, 32, and 43 of the bill. Experts said those sections poses serious threats to freedom of expression and media operation. 

However, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself has defended the law and said the media `need not have anything to worry unless it is publishing fake news'.

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