Opposition slams Bangladesh government for ‘misuse’ of Digital Security Act

Noting that people and journalists were being abused, the government has enacted this law to create an atmosphere of fear and panic, they said.


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July 6, 2023

DHAKA – Opposition Jatiya Party and Gonoforum MPs today in parliament came down heavily on the government for harassing people and journalists under the Digital Security Act, which they say has created an atmosphere of “fear and panic”.

The opposition MPs said this while participating in the discussion on the passage of “Agency to Innovate (A2i) Bill 2023” in parliament.

State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak placed the bill which was passed by voice vote.

Participating in the discussion, the lawmakers said that people and journalists are being abused by this law. The government has enacted this law to create an atmosphere of fear and panic, they also said.

Participating in the discussion on the bill, JP MP Pir Fazlur Rahman said that the digital security law is being used to harass journalists. Common people are also being victimised and tortured while expressing their opinion. Influential quarters are using this law. People’s right to freedom of speech is being taken away. This law needs to be amended urgently, if not repealed.

Gonoforum MP Mokabbir Khan said, “If we cannot prevent the misuse of digital technology, the law will be of no use. Again, if the law is misused, the goal cannot be achieved. We saw this with the Digital Security Act … Around 7,001 cases were filed under this law till January 2023. The journalist community has suffered the most due to this law.”

He also said that in the last four and a half years, this law has been applied to suppress dissent and free thought or criticism of the ruling party. The freedom of expression of journalists has been severely curtailed due to this law. This law has given unlimited powers to the police, he added.

Mokabbir also mentioned the harassment of Prothom Alo journalist Shamsuzzaman under this law.

“The government created this law to create an environment of fear and panic. Common people are not getting the benefits. As a result, the law minister is talking about amending it in the face of strong objections from civil society, human rights activists and journalists. Hopefully, the law minister will take initiative in this regard quickly,” he also said.


The “Agency to Innovate (A2i) Bill 2023” was passed to form an agency to encourage innovation in the information technology sector and help the government to take programmes in establishing a knowledge-based society and its implementation.

The agency will be formed with a 15-member board of directors and the ICT minister will be the chairman of the board, which will be autonomous.

Besides, the agency will form a policy that will help to create an innovation-encouraging environment.

As per the bill, the agency, if necessary, would form a company to materialise the objective of this law.

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