The ‘Digital Security Bill, 2018’ was passed in parliament on Wednesday although stakeholders expressed serious reservations before its passage about some of its provisions that would limit freedom of the press.
The just-enacted law has kept a provision of minimum seven years and maximum 14 years of imprisonment and monetary fine of minimum Tk 2500,000 and maximum Tk 10 million or both for illegal access and destruction of any important information related to the state affairs, reports BSS.
The Editors' Council has earlier rejected the draft law.
Post, telecommunication and information technology minister Mostafa Jabbar moved the bill in the House which was unanimously passed by voice votes with speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.
The minister said, “The punishment will be life-term imprisonment and monetary fine of Taka 5 crore (50 million) if anybody is found involved second time or more in the crime.”
He said the government will form a digital security agency and a digital security council. A 13-member digital security council will be formed heading prime minister as its chairman.
The other members of the council are minister/state minister or deputy minister of post, telecommunication and information technology, minister/state minister or deputy minister of law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministry, prime minister’s principal secretary, governor of Bangladesh Bank, secretary of post and telecommunication division, secretary of information and communication technology division, secretary of public safety division, foreign secretary, inspector general of police (IGP), BTRC chairman, director general of defense intelligence directorate and director general of the Digital Security Council will act its member secretary.
Earlier, the bill was sent to concerned parliamentary standing committee for further scrutiny.