March 7, 2023
DHAKA – The law minister has suggested that the government sits again with stakeholders to identify the problem areas of the Digital Security Act.
“Let us sit together to mark out the problems concerning the law and work together for a solution,” said Law Minister Annisul Huq, speaking at a seminar organised by International Centre for Not-for-Profit Law and Counterpart International.
“This meeting can even happen before Ramadan. Anyone can give their opinions there.”
The minister, while addressing the audience of “Shaping of Third Sector – Laws and Policies” at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, said, “Repealing the law is not a logical solution. Many have said that there have not been benefits from the law, but I don’t believe that to be true.”
“When we saw that the law was being abused, we communicated with the United Nations Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and had a virtual meeting with them. Then I went to Geneva and spoke with the high commissioner,” he explained, adding that since then they have been trying to identify good examples across the world.
“We have formed a committee along with the OHCHR comprised of officers from the law ministry, foreign ministry, home ministry and ICT division. The UN office has given some suggestions and the government is looking into it,” said the minister.
He added, “I will not say that this law does not have any flaws. All laws have some procedural flaws and some problems in implementation. When there is a problem in implementation, then that can be fixed through a discussion. If we can solve the problem by changing any clauses, then we will do so.
“The way civil society adheres to the constitution, we do too. We too do not want that there be any law that goes against the constitution,” he said, adding that the DSA was not formulated to violate the right to freedom of expression or independent journalism.
He said that DSA is only meant to curb digital crimes. “It is regrettable that many are abusing and misusing the law after it was made.”
Dr Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh, Jyotirmoy Barua, Shaheen Anam, executive director of Manusher Jonno Foundation, and academic Professor CR Abrar also spoke at the event while Randy Ali, deputy mission director of USAID, attended as the special guest.