Coming down heavily on journalist community for opposing the Digital Security Act, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday claimed that there was nothing to worry over some sections of the law.
“Freedom of expression is not controlled through the passage of the bill rather we have introduced the bill to refrain people from wrong doing,” she told parliament while delivering her valedictory speech.Parliament on Wednesday passed the much-talked about Digital Security Bill 2018 ignoring the concern of different national and international quarters, lawmakers and journalists on eight sections.
The Editors’ Council on Sunday in a statement rejected the bill as the sections 8,21,25,28,29,31,32, and 43 posed a serious threat to freedom of expression and media operation.
The council said some of the sections of the bill will greatly hamper the freedom of speech.
Referring to the concern of journalist community, the premier said they should not think of their own community interest rather they should think in a wider way.
“Journalism should be constructive and responsible which will not make provocation in the society,” she said.
The premier said soon after the passage of the bill many (Journalists) gave their opinions on the bill.“It is a matter of regret that they made opinions for personal interest. They do not think for a single time that the bill is very important for the whole society and the country,” she added.
The premier said that some editors, journalists and intellectuals gave opinions against the bill.
“They only think whether their voices are controlled or not. Their voices are not controlled rather they put opinions due to freedom of expression,” she said.
If the freedom of expression is curtailed they would not have got any scope to give their opinions, the premier said.
She said people experienced such situation during the Martial Law regime.
Referring to the BNP-Jamaat government’s regime between 2001 and 2006, she said journalists were tortured during that time but they forget it.
The premier said none of the government dared to take the media in the private sector.
“But we did it....Now they can discuss anything in the talk shows...nobody creates any obstacles,” she said.
“Journalists should not tarnish the image of the country. They should not mislead the people. Journalism which will take the country forward should be practiced,” she said.
The premier said her government developed the digital Bangladesh.
“Let people enjoy the advantage of digital Bangladesh by staying away from any negative online activities,” she said.