From 1st January 2020 to February 2021, there are 402 cases have been tracked under the Digital Security Act-2018. And the number of accused is 873 and the number of complainants is 338 in those cases.None of the cases have been settled so far.However, 03 people have relieved from a case, among the accused in the same case, 01 died in the prison on 25/02/2021.So far, 22 people have been granted interim bail,and the rest of the cases are still under trial. Dr. Manjur A. Chowdhury, Chairman of the non-government research organization Centre for Governance Studies (CGS) presented the findings of the research in a webinar.
An online scholarly discussion was organized by the Centre for Governance Studies on the Digital Security Act of Bangladesh 2018 on 27th February 2021. The webinar was hosted by the executive director of CGS Zillur Rahman.
Mr. S M Rezaul Karim MP, Honorable Minister, Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, Dr. Ali Riaz, Distinguished Professor, Illinois State University, Dr. Shahdeen Malik, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, Mr. Faruq Faisel, Regional Director, Bangladesh and South Asia, ARTICLE 19, Ms. Zakia Parvin Khanam MP, Member, Parliamentary Standing Committee, Ministry of Post Tele Communication & Information Technology were the discussants at the event.
Dr. Ali Riaz in his speech said, there are several articles in the act that are unclear and many of its terms are not defined properly He called for proper investigations of the murder of Mushtaq Ahmed and the disappearance incident of Reporter Kazol. He also added that the state is now under a hybrid regime, within the last few years the political culture and electoral system of the state has been destroyed, and to keep people away from criticizing all this, the government has enacted this law just before the 2018 elections.
In the webinar, Zakia Parvin MP pointed out the importance of the Digital Security Act for achieving the goals of Digital Bangladesh.
Being agreed with Dr. Ali Riaz, Faruq Faisel said, the act is not made to give security to the common people rather it has enacted to ensure the security of a particular party, a particular group of people, and their family members. He requested the government to form stakeholder consultations for an open discussion on the issue.
Dr. Shahdeen Malik expressed his concern saying there is no law in the world made for the crime of defamation. You cannot judge freedom of expression based on how many media are operating rather on the point of whether such media can run without any threat or not, he added.
Minister of fisheries and livestock S M Rezaul KarimMP, in his speech said the government is trying its best to re-establish the culture of justice by giving utmost effort. He also tried to convince others by saying there remain opportunities for the discussion on the Digital Security Act.
Many of the speakers in the webinar pointed out that, the Digital Security Act is creating a fear of climate among people and demand for abandoning the act right away.
The Centre for governance studies (CGS) is tracking all the cases filed under the Digital Security Act 2018 since January 1,2020.And continuously uploading to the website https://freedominfo.net/