Update August 23, 2015

Dhaka 6-26 pm, 24-September, 2021

ICT Act 2013 empowers government: Discussants

Sumel Sarker

BBC Songlap

ICT Act 2013 empowers government: Discussants

23 August 2015, Nirapad News: Discussants at a program here on Saturday said section 57 of the ICT (Amendment) Act 2013 has empowered the government to use it as a tool to repress dissents.

They came up with the observation at the 126th episode of BBC Bangla Sanglap, arranged at TCB Building at city’s Karwan Bazar.

Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, Dhaka University Prof MM Akash, BNP standing committee member Lt Gen (retd) Mahbubur Rahman and director (South Asia) of Article 19, a London-based human rights organisation, Tahmina Rahman was present at the programme as discussants.

Responding to a query whether section 57 of the ICT Act has become a tool to exercise against differing ideologies, Tahmina Rahman said there is a chance to abuse people using the section 57 of the Act, and that can also be used as a weapon to repress people with opposite opinion.

Some people have already been arrested under the section and the trials are underway in the court, she said, adding that it is not possible to comment anything surely right now.

MM Akash said the government should let other people to criticize its activities so that the scope of correction is left there.

The people must enjoy freedom of speech but that does not mean they are allowed to say whatever they want, he said adding that the definition of the section should be more specific instead of repealing it.

Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan said different laws have been passed during different regimes and fresh laws are always required to correct modern people.

The government is very careful about misapplication of any law, he added.

BNP senior leader Mahbubur Rahman said the section 57 of the ICT Act has been used politically.

The government should take appropriate steps to stop the abuse of people using law, he demanded.

Section 57 of the ICT (Amendment) Act, 2013 says if any person deliberately publishes any material in electronic form that causes to deteriorate law and order, prejudice the image of the state or person or causes to hurt religious belief the offender will be punished for maximum 14 years and minimum 7 years imprisonment. It also suggested that the crime is non-bailable.

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