The Sampadak Parishad (Editor's Council) has said reservations made about the Cyber Security Act (2023), which was passed by parliament, proved to be true as it would become just another tool to take away press freedom and oppress journalists.
Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam, president of the council, and General Secretary Dewan Hanif Mahmud raised the concerns in a statement issued today (20 September).
The association of newspaper editors stated that by repealing the Digital Security Act, the new law has indeed minimised penalties and introduced changes to certain sections, but the while the package was changed, the same content remained.
The statement also pointed out that there are many elements in the law which undermine freedom of speech, right of expression and freedom of press.
The association stated that the definition of cybercrime remains unchanged and unclarified in the Cyber Security Act.
It said sections 21 and 28 of the Digital Security Act have been widely criticised both nationally and internationally for infringing upon freedom of expression.
Mentioning that these two sections have been considered as tools to target and manipulate political opponents, the council thinks that retaining these provisions while reducing the penalties could still create opportunities for abuse and arbitrary application of the law.
Therefore, Sampadak Parishad believes that the Cyber Security Law should not be regarded as anything other than a law to oppress media and journalists.