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BFUJ demanded repeal of 8 sections and amendment of 4 sections of Cyber Security Act

Reporter Name 394 Time View
Update : Sunday, August 20, 2023


Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) has demanded repeal of eight sections and amendment of four sections of the proposed Cyber Security Act. The organization believes that there is scope for misuse of these clauses against journalists and media.

In a press release sent to the media on Sunday, the BFUJ said, the proposal to separate the crimes and punishments that are guaranteed under the criminal law, including defamation, and add them to the cyber security law and increase the punishment is unacceptable. There is no fundamental difference between the proposed Cyber Security Act and the existing Digital Security Act.

The press release also mentioned that BFUZ President M Abdullah and Secretary General Nurul Amin have sent their proposal to the Information and Communication Technology Department of the government after reviewing the draft of the proposed law.

The BFUJ said that Sections 25, 26, 28, 29, 31, 32, 40 and 42 of the Cyber Security Act should be repealed and Sections 21, 43, 45 and 46 should be amended to protect journalists.

The BFUJ said that the provisions set out in Section 21 of the proposed Act have been widely misused in the context of the Digital Security Act. Apart from the media, there is a danger of arbitrary misuse of this clause against political opponents. Article 22 of the Act will allow the content of online media to be (sub)criminalised.

According to the BFUJ, Sections 23 and 24 of the proposed Act are similar to Section 22. Apart from this, citing Section 25 of the Act as more dangerous, the organization said, the section of the Cyber Security Act will have scope for widespread misuse against journalists and media. Because, it will be difficult for journalists to determine who will be ‘disturbed’, ‘insulted’, ‘offended’ or ‘degraded’ by any news. Section 26 of the Act can also be a threat to journalists.

The BFUJ pointed out that Section 28 of the proposed Act has been found to be misused in the experience of the Digital Security Act. Section 29 of the Act may also turn out to be a sword for journalists and media. Besides, the BFUJ considers it unacceptable to link defamation clause with cyber security as criminal law also provides punishment for the same offence.

BFUJ feels that journalists will be the victims as section 31 of the proposed law is also retained as a digital security law. The organization says that due to such provisions, the media is helpless in reporting the democratic movement or rights movement in the country. Section 32 of the widely criticized Official Secrets Act already has precedents for abuse against investigative journalism.

The BFUJ has criticized sections 40, 42, 43 and 45 of the proposed law, saying that the powers given to the police would have scope for creating terror. The police will be able to arrest on suspicion before the crime is committed and take all kinds of oppressive measures in the name of search and seizure.

The BFUJ also considers the Cyber Security Act a threat to freedom of expression and press.

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