Monday, 19 March 2018

Govt to revoke Sec-57

Sayeed Muhammad

The government has decided to scrap the Section-57 among other controversial sections of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act while the draft of the proposed Digital Security Act has been finalised. Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu revealed the matter while talking to reporters after a meeting held at the Secretariat in Dhaka yesterday. The meeting was attended, among others, by Law Minister Anisul Huq, State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak, State Minister for Post and Telecommunication Tarana Halim and secretaries of several ministries. Inu said the Digital Security Act is being adopted to contain digital crimes. “Hence, the contents linked to resisting digital crimes are being included in the law,” he said.Prior to Inu, the law minister said the meeting was aimed to finalise the draft law.“We discussed Section 57, a matter of concern by the journalists. The section will not exist that way,” he further said.
According to him, the “check and balance”, needed for freedom of speech, will remain in the law and also in the proposed National Broadcast Act.
Asked, he could not confirm when the matter will be finalised, however, saying newsmen will be updated after doing so.“The matter will be sent for prime minister’s approval,” he added.Talking about the conduct rules for lower court judges, Anisul said, “We received it (the rules) from the Supreme Court and send it to the president. It can be sent even today (Wednesday).Section 57 of the ICT Act stipulates that any post, image, or video on an electronic format that “causes to deteriorate law and order, prejudice the image of the state or person or hurt religious beliefs” are non-bailable offences. The punishment is a minimum seven-year jail term which can be doubled at best, while the highest fine may be Tk1 crore.

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