ISSN 2330-717X

Journey From Digital Security Bill, 2018 To Digital Security Act, 2018: Reviewing Past Concern On Proposed Law Regarding Cybercrimes And Outcome In Effect – Analysis

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The paper is an articulation based on the data collected from the daily English newspapers namely The Daily Star, Prothom Alo English, Dhaka Tribune, The Independent and The Financial Express, published during the months of January-April 2018. The news articles published on the proposed Digital Security Act were selected as the information for the paper. Thereby, the paper reflects on the past expressions of concern that were raised before the enactment of the Digital Security Act, 2018 among the stakeholders who are journalists, academicians, civil societies, legal personnel, concerned authorities, media organisations and so on regarding the impact of the proposed law. This paper also highlights the post-impact of the Act with the concerns it had before coming into force.

1. Background of the DSA:

Every human being nationally or globally having certain fundamental rights and freedom of expression is one of those which sometimes turn into offensive activities causing harm to others. Thereby, it becomes essential to impose a limitation to control the right in respect of certain circumstances. In the era of the twenty-first century, the advancement and usage of modern technology have become so vast that could not be imagined many years back. Everyone has become so dependent on modern technologies and the world has become so smaller with the advancement. Among such technologies, internet or internet-based technologies is the greatest invention of modern science and the development of the technology is so rapid and active. Where there is advancement, there is lacuna as well. Those lacunas sometimes result in such serious incidents which causes harm towards individuals, groups, society or even nationwide. Extremism of the right of freedom of speech is one of such lacunas. To deal with such incidents, it becomes essential to control and prevent those through legal intervention. In response to such necessity and to enact Digital Security Act, 2018, the much-debated Digital Security Bill, 2018 has been placed to House of Nations, the National Parliament of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. The background behind the proposed law reflects the controversy regarding Section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology Act, 2006 (ICT Act). The controversy regarding the section mainly relied on the arguments related to the contravention of the right of freedom of speech and interference with independent and investigative journalism. 

2. Section 57 controversy and expectation towards to DSA:

The protests and controversy regarding section 57 came massively after the arrest of journalist Probin Sikdar under the ICT Act in 2015 for one of the posts on Facebook. Though the rising demand resulted in the removal of section 57 the section has been incorporated in the new law with changes. 1 With the growing controversy concerning section 57 of the ICT Act, several arguments and legal notices had been served to the government and the ministries of law claiming the s.57 unconstitutional, discriminatory and contradictory to the constitutional provision of freedom of expression, thought, conscience and free speech. A writ petition had also been filed claiming the section as unconstitutional by the petitioner Zakir Hossain represented by Supreme Court lawyer Emran Siddique and the High Court stated that the petition is premature as the government was considering to take some steps regarding the law. Teachers and students of several Universities also protested against the controversial section. Therefore, the proposed Digital Security Act, 2018 came with the expectation that it will remove the controversies of section 57 and marginalize the claims. As per the proposed Digital Security Act, certain provisions of the ICT Act which are sections 54, 55, 56, 57 and 66 will be abolished when the draft will be in effect. However, it has been stated that the ‘crimes’ defined under controversial section 57 will be in existence due to some practical reasons under four new provisions of the Digital Security Act. 2

Cabinet on 29 Jan 2018 approved in principle the draft of DSB, 2018 and it came out through the brief from the cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam that as per the proposed Digital Security Act, the certain provisions of ICT Act which are sections 54, 55, 56, 57 and 66 to be revoked when the draft will be in effect. Though, it has been stated that the ‘crimes’ defined under controversial section 57 will be in existence due to some practical reasons under four new provisions of the Digital Security Act. 3 Having the pressure and being questioned by the media, academicians, journalists and legal practitioners, the government took the initiative to repeal the much-criticised section 57 of the ICT Act through the Digital Security Act. 4 Conversely, despite repealing the complete existence along with the application, the sectioned has been cropped up in one way or other in the proposed Digital Security Act. According to a Prothom Alo Report, “Suits under ICT Act doubled in Six Months”, 02 Aug 2017, it appears that 42 cases were filed in January, 79 in June and a total of 391 in the six months.5

Additionally, Shoaib Chowdhury, a journalist from Habiganj, for instance, was jailed for 84 days in 2017 only because he had written a story, which said that one of the MPs from his region might be replaced ahead of the next elections.25-year-old Dilip Roy, a member of the Biplobi Chatro Moitri from Rajshahi University had to spend three months in jail because he had written a Facebook status criticising some of the points made by the Prime Minister concerning the Rampal Power plant. The case was filed by the president of a powerful student political party from the same university against him. 6 Where section 57 contains the crimes regarding defamation, hurting religious sentiment, harming the image of the state and damaging communal harmony, all together in a compacted form, the section has been reformed under four new provisions which are sections 25, 28, 29 and 31 of the proposed Digital Security Act.7

3. Discourse during January-April after the approval of the draft law:

After the approval of the Digital Security Bill, 2018, concern from different sectors of the country has been raised and the following discussions are the glimpse of such concern which has been duly published in the national daily newspapers: A concern has come from Former Chief Information officer professor Golam Rahman, who suggested that the definition of “secret information” must be made clear; otherwise, the provision of section 32 under the new Act can be misunderstood as well as misused. Journalists are also considering the section as an obstruction to press freedom. 8 Supreme Court Lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua also spoke on the new Act and stated that section 57 has simply been relocated in the proposed law keeping the existing risks adding that the journalists and researchers will be harassed by the new Act. Former caretaker government advisor and human rights activists Sultana Kamal stated the same and mentioned that no stand has been taken in respect of freedom of speech under the proposed law. 9

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) pointed out that in the year 2017 about 25 journalists and several bloggers including Facebook users were prosecuted under section 57 of the ICT Act which is a “notorious and controversial” provision. However, the provision has been reproduced in the proposed law and the vague wording will still be misunderstood and misused. Furthermore, Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk stated that the Digital Security Act is not satisfactory and called it more draconian than the previous one. Additionally, urges to withdraw the contravening provision which can gag journalists and bloggers. 10  Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF) stated that Bangladesh ranks 146th out of 180 countries in the RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

Journalists and other think tanks are mostly concerned about the seriousness of section 32 of the proposed Digital Security Act considering it to be more dangerous than section 57 of the ICT Act as stated by BNP Standing Committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain. He also added that freedom of the press and freedom of speech will be diminished by the new Act. A similar view has been expressed by BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi and added that the new Act will be marked as “black law”.11

Additionally, the secretary of Bangladesh Biplobi Workers Party Saiful Haque said the proposed Act is contradicting with fundamental rights. Moreover, Ain O Shalish Kendro showing its concern over the proposed law said that journalists, writers and professionals would be affected by section 32 as it would shrink their spaces while collecting information.12

It has been reported that Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) had called for the amendment of the draft law based on the opinion of all stakeholders. It stated that draft law is in contradiction to the free speech and opinion rights and International Convention on the Rights of the People. 13 The TIB director stated that the draft law is the updated version of section 3 of the Official Secrecy Act of 1923 on the spying through section 32 of the new Act and the misuse of the proposed law would hinder the rights under the Right to Information Act 2009. 14 TIB also added that the power given to the investigation officer under the proposed law to arrest anyone without any warrant would be widely misused and the contradiction with fundamental rights will be a suicidal approach for the democracy of the country.15

Ten international organisations which are Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Asian Human Rights Commission, CIVICUS, FIDH – International Federation for Human Rights, Human Rights Watch, Odhikar, People’s Watch, Robert F Kennedy Human Rights, and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) observed that the provisions of Bill would affect the constitutional rights and contravene with international law commitments, thereby, recommend to carefully consider the provisions of the bill from a constitutional and international law perspective. They also referred to UN “Special Reporter on Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression” David Kaye who can advise on the referred issues under international law.16

Editors Council asked the government to remove the controversial section 32 of the proposed law as it expressed that the provision would create a hindrance to independent journalism. According to the council section, 32 is defining journalism as digital spying and called the new law draconian and harsher one which has equated journalism with spying under section 32. The council also suggested taking advice from stakeholders before passing the law.17

Diplomats from 10 countries and the European Union (EU) which are Germany, Sweden, the USA, Denmark, France, Canada, the UK, Spain, Norway and Switzerland showed their concern on the four sections of the proposed digital security Act and wishes to meet the law minister of the country who also assured them that they will look into the matter. 18 Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that the government should ‘review and reform’ the proposed DGA as according to its view the draft law violated the obligation of the country to protect freedom of speech and called it more draconian. Brad Adams, Asia Director of HRW undermines the claim of the government that the draft law has no intention of curbing the freedom of speech.19

The approval of the draft of the Digital Security Act 2018 raised more fear and concern as experts say that the new law contains vague terms and goes against the people’s right to freedom of speech and expression. Inspector-General of Police AKM Shahidul Hoque said that the running legal proceedings under section 57 will continue and currently as per reports 701 cases are pending under the cyber tribunal.20

Section 28 talks about hurting religious sentiment, while Section 31 warns against publishing something that can spread hatred or create enmity. It must be kept in mind that a similar proposed law was struck down by the Supreme Court of India in 2008. Now it’s not as though journalists go around with secret recorders or plan secret recordings every other day at work. Going undercover or using secret recorders is an option that is used by journalists when that is the only way to uncover a corrupt practice and bring it to light.21

For instance, if a journalist secretly shoots or records someone taking a bribe or performing some other illegal activity, will the journalist be charged based on the new proposed law? In the end, the journalist may not be in trouble, since his motive was positive. In this regard, the public prosecutor of the lone Cyber Crime Tribunal Nazrul Islam Shamimhad said that the police should be trained to know what kind of cases they can accept under this act and that they need to be clearer about the details of this section.22

4. Response from Journalists:

Journalist Shameem Reza analysed the enactment of the proposed digital security Act with muzzling the media colonial-style as she brought the example of a Baul song which expresses the mid-nineteenth century incident where several editors of Bangla newspaper lost their jobs due to publishing reports on the incidents of a train accident in British India because the authorities of railway companies and the colonial rulers were reluctant t let the people know about such incidents. In respect of the purpose, laws were enacted not only to control the voices but also to prevent the local press from criticizing British policies. The enactment of the Vernacular Press Act, 1878 in the sub-continent reflects such purpose. Thereby, the analogy comes out in the proposition that the proposed digital security Act also contains the similar purpose of hiding certain things from the public through the controlling mechanism under the proposed law.23

The provision under the new law which empowers police for several offences that were considered non-bailable has been analysed with section 16 of the Special Powers Act, 1974 which also considered being a major threat for the mass media and repealed later on. The author also stated that the proposed form of the Digital Security Act will just be a repetition of gagging the media in the same old manner. 25 The Digital Security Bill, 2018, aiming to deal with cybercrimes, including hurting the religious sentiment, negative propaganda against the liberation war and the father of the nation, and illegal activities in e-transactions and spreading defamatory data, was placed in parliament.25

While it is necessary to tackle steadily growing cybercrimes, it is also important to enact laws without harming the fundamental rights. However, the proposed digital security Act has been considered a threat to the freedom of speech and freedom of the press and lacks constitutional legitimacy. Furthermore, it enforces many times higher punishment than the penalty for heinous crimes and also cuts the discretionary power to decide the term of sentence or fine by predetermining the sentence term and fine. 26 It is stated that if the purpose is to curb cybercrimes at first instance the existing law is enough to check the crimes but still if we need something of digital security then the form should not be to curb the investigative work of a journalist. Furthermore, the Law Minister has acknowledged the questions rose by the editors and assured that before passing the Bill, there will be more discussions and considerations. 27

Journalist Syed Badrul Ahsan showing his concern on the proposed DSA, stated that it is a piece of good news that section 57 is going to be repealed, however, it is also a piece of bad news that the provision is replaced by a more draconian form of measure. He also talked about the continuance of cases filed under section 57. Additionally, he raised a question on the necessity of section 57 and DSA when the goal of government is to create a liberal democratic society. However, he agreed that there should be a watchkeeping system for national security purposes. 28

Moreover, concern has also raised the issue that people may face unnecessary trouble because of uncomfortable temptation regarding any opinion and the impact over journalism, research work and students of history along with writers. The recently drafted Digital Security Act has the potential to be quite effective at gagging people’s freedom of expression, to the point that it would make Kim Jong-un beam with pride and shed tears of joy, where the North Korean leader to add it to his “selected reading for the aspiring tyrant” booklist. 29 However, this legislation should not come as much of a surprise to anyone who has been keeping an eye on the global political scene for the past few years. The persistent attack on freedom of speech has been going on for a long time now, and those who stand against this basic human right have been winning by a large majority.30

He also added that around the world Erdogan’s crackdown on secularists in Turkey, the wars in Yemen and Syria, the Iraqi-Kurdish Battle of Kirkuk, the Egyptian crackdown on political activists (Muslim brotherhood or otherwise), and the glorification of the violent media-backed terrorists known as the Antifa, are but a few of the major incidents from last year where brute force helped tyrannical rulers gain total victory over the forces of freedom. Putting these events into perspective paints a gloomy picture of a dystopian world where oppression and censorship are, slowly but surely, becoming the new normal.31

According to Khandaker Muniruzzaman, acting editor of daily Sangbad, the new law is more draconian than section 57 and cannot be accepted in any way. He also added that section 32 of the proposed Act will make journalism more difficult by falling them into the category of spying. In addition to these, Bangladesh Protidin Editor Nayeem Nizam stated that media independence will face difficulty under the new Act. Rights activist Nur Khan Liton stated that freedom of expression will be curtailed under the new law and suggested that there should be an obligatory section under the new Act to oblige the authorities to scrutinise cases before considering defamation or hurting religious sentiments.32

An online activist, Baki Billah called the step to pass the new Act as an undemocratic character as it is an approach to curtail freedom of expression. He also compared the impacts of foreign countries including the Soviet Union which try to curtail freedom of expression and speech as while it comes to rely on authentic information, media has the biggest role.34

As section 32 of the new Act states about spying, and gives the power to police to arrest or search without a warrant, raises the question that whether any journalist or civic activist can be ever expected to possess or publish any information which reflects the counter version of the officials one. 

A member of the editorial team at the daily star, Eresh Omar Jamal tried to establish that freedom of speech is not just a right rather this is the way of making sense to the human and the world through which people convey their thoughts and also understand other means and suggests that instead of imposing restrictions over freedom of speech the solution could not get offended.35 He also said that the biggest fear is there is no clear distinction made between genuine cybercrimes and impediments to freedom of expression and the freedom of media. 36 Gonojagoron Mancha spokesperson Imran H Sarkar protested against the approval of DSA 2018 claiming to repeal it immediately and also added that this will only gag the voice of mass media and the government officials and employees will abuse this as a weapon to guard the activities of corruption.37

5. Response from Academicians:

According to academician C R Abrar, “it would also be wrong to assume that only journalists and online activists would suffer from the misapplication of the proposed DSA. Section 21 and 32 of the draft DSA will act as Damocles’ sword over academics and researchers (particularly researchers of history) who dare to venture into new frontiers of knowledge.”38

Academician Md. Nayem Alimul Hyder raised the question of whether the proposed Digital Security Act will work as a shield to protect the interest of innocent people, the government and others or a sword to curtail the freedom of expression.39 According to Md Saimum Reza Talukder, one major loophole of Section 4 of the proposed DSA is that it might not have clearly defined the jurisdictional issues.40

He identified that the DSA is also silent about the principle of necessity, the principle of legality and the principle of legitimate aim which the judiciary can invoke while reviewing restrictions on freedom of expression online put in place by the state. Moreover, the law seems absent of the issues of politics of algorithm, digital divide, net neutrality, etc., which are some of the burning issues in a post-Brexit and post-Trump world. The proposed law also seems to be unaware of the sovereignty of nation-states on the internet, which is a recent topic of debate around the world.41

Columnist Mahfuz Anam showed his concern over the upcoming Digital Security Act and stated that once the law will be passed the digital law will turn into the analogue era. As Bangladesh is aiming for a ‘digital Bangladesh’, implementation of the proposed Act is a contradictory approach of the government which is in form of curtailing freedom of expression and independent journalism harming democracy which applies to digital media including newspapers as the newspapers are available now in the online form. He added that there are incidents of serious abuse; however, “we cannot cut off the head to get rid of a headache”. 42

Researcher Sayeed Ovi brought the example of Paradox of Epimenides for analysing the vision of the current government of the country to have a digital Bangladesh soon with the initiatives of imposing limitations on the digital platform of expression through the enactment of proposed DSA. 43 He also talked about the controversy of section 57 that how it became a problem as more than 1400 cases were filed within the years 2012 to 2017 under section 57 mostly for defamation and the main targets were innumerable journalists. Instead of this, he stated that though is a sort of relief that the section is going to be repealed but a more draconian and stricter law is in its way. Additionally, he mentioned that the punishment under section 21 of the new law is a higher one and the objective behind these is not transparent. Furthermore, the new law provides different punishments and fines which are going to be harsh against innocent and individuals with minor offences whereas the offenders of heinous crimes are not getting punished. He also showed concern for investigative journalists who are going to be considered as a spy under the new law.44

6. Counter and Positive response from the government and concerned ministries:

Soon after the approval of the draft of the proposed digital security Act, voices have raised regarding the atmosphere the new law would create as to independent journalism and freedom of speech. In response to these, at a press conference, the Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stated why everyone is afraid now when section 57 is going to be repealed. Also added that if no one commits any crime then why the person should be afraid of the Act as it will apply against someone who will commit any crime and there should not be any confusion as the provision of CrPC for arresting an accused journalist has been amended and included the provision to serve summon first.45

After the geared up protests and lots of controversies regarding the proposed Bill, apart from the Honourable Prime Minister; the Law Minister and other authorities of the country responded to the questions raised by the protesters and others at certain meetings and while having media interactions.

It is thought that the controversial section which became a weapon to target journalists by harassing them will still be in existence under the new Act. In response to this, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam replied that the journalists were never targeted. He also stated that the new Act contains the detailed version of section 57 and punishment will be imposed as per the nature of the crimes. 46 Additionally, the commerce minister defended the proposed law by saying that the law is accurate and transparent. Law Minister Anisul Huq also said that there is no relationship between journalism and espionage, thereby, the fear regarding the proposed law is unnecessary.47

Cabinet Secretary Shafiul Alam stated that the main reasons behind enacting the proposed Digital Security Act are the increasing number of cybercrimes and the theft incident of Bangladesh Bank reserves which necessitated the formulation as there is no cyber law to fight against the crimes. He also mentioned the inclusion of the definition of ‘digital’, the creation of a digital forensic lab, emergency response team and a council of 11 members chaired by the PM for attaining the objectives of the Act. Additionally, he stated that the meaning of ‘religious sentiments’ will be implemented as per the definition provided under the Penal Code. Furthermore, it has also been clarified that the cases running under section 57 will continue accordingly and the verdicts will be the final one. 48

7. Conclusion:

In concluding remarks, it can be said that the analysis of data gathered from the secondary sources, stipulates the findings that the controversial section 57 of ICT is going be replaced by a harsher law and the new Act contains vague terms which may result in misunderstanding and cases will be highly dependent on the judiciary’s role of statutory interpretation. Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, investigative journalism and independent journalism are at stake. Excessive fines and punishment, empowering police and vague definitions have been considered as the loopholes of the DS Bill. While much debate and criticism have been received on the proposed DSA, 2018, the honourable law minister assured that the draft will be reconsidered and suggestions to be taken from stakeholders will also be considered. 

*About the author: Sabrina Hasan, PhD Candidate, Xiamen University

Source: Some parts of this paper appear in modified form in the following publication: Silvee, Sadiya S. and Hasan, Sabrina, The Right to Privacy in Bangladesh in the Context of Technological Advancement (December 8, 2018). International and Comparative Law Journal 1(2), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3298069 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3298069  

Notes:

  1.  Staff Correspondent, Section 57 to be there but with some changes, The Daily Star (January 29, 2018) < https://www.thedailystar.net/backpage/section-57-be-there-some-changes-1526524> accessed 12 April 2018
  2.  Staff Correspondent, Sec 57 being kept in Digital Security Act in one way or the other, Prothom Alo Eng (Jan 29, 2018), <http://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/news/170252/Sec-57-being-kept-in-Digital-Security-Act-in-one?print=1#jadewits_print> accessed 12 April 2018
  3.  Prothom Alo English Desk, Cabinet gives go-ahead to Digital Security Bill, Prothom Alo Eng (Jan 29, 2018), <http://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/news/170272/Cabinet-gives-go-ahead-to-Digital-Security-Bill?print=1#jadewits_print> accessed 12 April 2018
  4.  Staff Correspondent, Spectre of controversial section 57 remains, Prothom Alo Eng, (January 30, 2018) <http://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/news/170313/Spectre-of-controversial-section-57-remains?print=1#jadewits_print> accessed 12 April 2018
  5. Ibid.
  6.  Naimul Karim, OPINION: DRAFT OF DIGITAL SECURITY ACT: The same old story with a new twist, The Daily Star, (February 04, 2018) <https://www.thedailystar.net/star-weekend/opinion/the-same-old-story-new-twist-1528480> accessed 12 April 2018
  7.  Digital Security Reform Bill, 2018, <http://www.dpp.gov.bd/upload_file/gazettes/25585_59317.pdf> accessed 19 April 2018
  8. Ibid
  9. Ibid
  10.  Staff Correspondent, Global call for removing threats from draft digital act, Prothom Alo Eng, (January 30, 2018) <http://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/news/170376/Global-call-for-removing-threats-from-draft?print=1#jadewits_print > accessed 12 April 2018
  11.  Staff Correspondent, ‘Section 32 more dangerous than 57’, Prothom Alo Eng, (January 31, 2018) < http://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/news/170372/Section-32-more-dangerous-than-57?print=1#jadewits_print> accessed 12 April 2018
  12. Ibid
  13.  Prothom Alo English Desk, TIB for amending controversial clauses of Digital Security Act, Prothom Alo Eng, (February 01, 2018) < http://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/news/170432/TIB-for-amending-controversial-clauses-of-Digital?print=1#jadewits_print> accessed 12 April 2018
  14. Ibid
  15. Ibid
  16.  Staff Correspondent, Digital security law to guillotine democratic dissent: CSOs, Prothom Alo Eng, (February 06, 2018) < http://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/news/170662/Digital-security-law-to-guillotine-democratic?print=1#jadewits_print>  accessed 12 April 2018
  17.  Staff Correspondent, Editors’ Council calls section 32 an attack on democracy, Prothom Alo Eng, (February 06, 2018) < http://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/news/170700/Editors-Council-calls-section-32-an-attack-on?print=1#jadewits_print>  accessed 12 April 2018
  18.  UNB, EU, envoys concerned over proposed digital security act, Prothom Alo Eng, (March 27, 2018) < http://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/news/173176/EU-envoys-concerned-over-proposed-digital?print=1#jadewits_print> accessed 12 April 2018
  19.  Tribune Desk, HRW: Scrap draconian elements of Digital Security Act, Dhaka Tribune, (23 February, 2018) <http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2018/02/23/hrw-scrap-draconian-elements-digital-security-act/> accessed 12 April 2018
  20.  Partha Pratim Bhattacharjee and Tuhin Shubhra Adhikary, Draft of Digital Security Act Approved: Gag on freedom of expression, The Daily Star (January 30, 2018), <https://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/draft-digital-security-act-approved-gag-freedom-expression-1527013> accessed 12 April 2018
  21.  supra N 6
  22. Ibid
  23.  Shameem Reza, Muzzling the media colonial-style, Prothom Alo Eng, (April 11, 2018) <http://en.prothomalo.com/opinion/news/174011/Muzzling-the-media-colonial-style?print=1#jadewits_print>  accessed 12 April 2018
  24. Ibid
  25.  UNB, Digital Security Bill placed in parliament, Prothom Alo Eng, (April 11, 2018) <http://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/news/173935/Digital-Security-Bill-placed-in-parliament?print=1#jadewits_print > accessed 12 April 2018
  26.  Update, Digital-Security-Act-ignores-public-opinion?,  Prothom Alo Eng, (April 11, 2018) http://en.prothomalo.com/opinion/news/174009/Digital-Security-Act-ignores-public-opinion?print=1#jadewits_print , accessed 12 April 2018
  27.  Editorial, Change the proposed digital security bill, The Independent, (April 21, 2018) < http://www.theindependentbd.com/home/printnews/146620> accessed 26 April 2018
  28.  Syed Badrul Ahsan, Section 57, DSA, and the spirit of 1971, Dhaka Tribune (31 January, 2018) < http://www.dhakatribune.com/opinion/2018/01/31/section-57-dsa-spirit-1971/> accessed 12 April 2018
  29.  SM Abrar Aowsaf, Where are our freedoms?, Dhaka Tribune, (08 February, 2018) < http://www.dhakatribune.com/opinion/2018/02/08/where-are-our-freedoms/>  accessed 12 April 2018
  30. Ibid
  31. Ibid
  32. Ibid
  33. Ibid
  34. Ibid
  35.  Eresh Omar Jamal, Freedom of speech is not just a right!, The Daily Star (February 01, 2018), <https://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/the-overton-window/freedom-speech-not-just-right-1527955> accessed 12 April 2018
  36. Ibid
  37.  Star Online Report, Digital Security Act to gag media:Imran, The Daily Star, (February 02, 2018) < https://www.thedailystar.net/country/bangladesh-digital-security-act-gag-media-gonojagoron-mancha-spokesperson-imran-h-Sarkar-1528978> accessed 12 April 2018
  38.  C R Abrar, The Digital Insecurity Act?, The Daily Star, (February 14, 2018) <https://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/the-digital-insecurity-act-1532692> accessed 12 April 2018
  39.  Md Nayem Alimul Hyder, Proposed Digital Security Act — a shield or a sword?, The Financial Express (19 February,2018) <https://thefinancialexpress.com.bd/print/proposed-digital-security-act-a-shield-or-a-sword-1519045807 > accessed 30 April 2018
  40.  Md Saimum Reza Talukder, Uncertainties Abound: What the Digital Security Act leaves unsaid, The Daily Star, (February 14, 2018) <https://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/perspective/uncertainties-abound-1529365> accessed 12 April 2018
  41. Ibid
  42.  Mahfuz Anam, Commentary: ‘Analogue law’ for ‘Digital Bangladesh’, The Daily Star (January 31, 2018), < https://www.thedailystar.net/commentary/commentary-analogue-law-digital-bangladesh-1527565> accessed 12 April 2018
  43.  Sayeed Ovi, The Bangladesh digital paradox, Dhaka Tribune, (11 February, 2018) < http://www.dhakatribune.com/opinion/2018/02/11/bangladesh-digital-paradox/>  accessed 12 April 2018
  44. Ibid
  45.  Staff Correspondent, Why are you so afraid? Prothom Alo Eng, (February 20, 2018) < http://en.prothomalo.com/bangladesh/news/171364/Why-are-you-so-afraid-if-you-don%E2%80%99t-commit-crime?print=1#jadewits_print> accessed 12 April 2018
  46.  supra N 3
  47. Ibid
  48.  Tribune Desk, Digital Security Act draft approved, Section 57 repealed, Dhaka Tribune, (29 January, 2018), <http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/law-rights/2018/01/29/digital-draft-cabinet-approval/> accessed 12 April 2018

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