The Editors' Council has demanded that the authorities concerned take their objections to the Digital Security Act into consideration and amend the act accordingly.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the council said, "Law Minister Anisul Huq said in a recent interview with the BBC that the law would be reviewed. He said arrangements will be made so that no arrest is made before the investigation if there is a case under the Digital Security Act."
Welcoming the law minister's statement, the council demanded that the authorities concerned take initiatives to make the law minister's statement legally effective immediately.
The council said, "Various organisations of journalists, political parties, Editors' Council and various domestic and international organisations objected before and after the Digital Security Act was drafted, approved in the cabinet, introduced in Parliament and signed by the president. On behalf of the government, some ministers and members of the parliamentary committee met with us and heard the objections. In the end, our demands have been completely ignored."
"Even the opinion of the media representatives participating in the discussion in the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the statement of the concerned minister and the report submitted by the Parliamentary Committee was not taken into consideration while enacting this Act. The media representatives recommended amending the Digital Security Act by specifying the objectionable sections. If they were taken into consideration, today's situation might not have arisen," reads the statement.
The Editors' Council explained in detail on 29 September, 2018 why they are concerned about the Digital Security Act.
In the explanation, the editorial board raised their concerns about nine sections of the law – 8, 21, 25, 28, 29, 31, 32, 43 and 53.
The council said, "In an attempt to enact legislation aimed at preventing crime through digital devices and providing security in the digital arena, a law has been enacted which will monitor the activities of the media and impose controls on its content. Sections 8, 21, 25, 28, 29, 31 and 32 of this act conflict with the freedom of the press provided by the Constitution."
In Saturday's statement, the council said, "Journalists and people who express their opinions freely are constantly harassed and tortured by the digital security law enforcement. We had such fears when the law was made. It is no exaggeration to say that in some cases the Digital Security Act is being enforced more rigorously than we fear."
"Mushtaq Ahmed, a free-spirited writer, had to prove it with his life. We thank the Hon'ble Court for granting bail to cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore after 10 months of imprisonment. However, the brutal treatment of journalists and writers by the law enforcement agencies under the Digital Security Act is highly undesirable," said the council.