Digital Security Act to be abolished, new law in the offing: Govt

Digital Security Act
Prothom Alo illustration

The government has decided to abolish the much debated Digital Security Act 2018.

The decision was made in principle at a cabinet meeting on Monday.

It was also decided in the meeting that the DSA will be replaced by Cyber Security Act 2023, the cabinet sources said.

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Different quarters in the country raised a demand to cancel the act.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk called upon the Bangladesh government on 1 April to suspend the Digital Security Act immediately.

Volker Türk said, "I am concerned that the Digital Security Act is being used across Bangladesh to arrest, harass and intimidate journalists and human rights defenders, and to muzzle critical voices online."

“I call again on the authorities to impose an immediate moratorium on its use and to comprehensively reform its provisions to bring them in line with the requirements of international human rights law. My office has already provided detailed technical comments to assist with such a revision," he added.

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The United Nations recommended abolishing 2 sections of the act and amending 8 sections of the act.

Law minister Anisul Huq more than once said the Digital Security Act would not be abolished, amended. He made a commitment to amend the law by September.

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In June in parliament, the law minister said a total of 7001 cases have been filed till January 2023 after the law was enacted in September 2018.

Human rights activists and journalists alleged the law is being used against the media and to silence the voice of the opposition in the name of digital security.