VOICE is a rights-based, activist organization working mainly on the issues of food sovereignty, aid effectiveness, economic justice, and the right to information and communication, both in Bangladesh and on a global scale. By building a broader constituency of alternative voices to the ‘mainstream development discourse’ through research and public education, VOICE is taking a stand against unjust and undemocratic practices.


Freedom Online Dialogue: Conversations of Digital Rights, Security and Cyber Peace

By farjana - Posted on 13 December 2018

foe-2bogura.jpg

On 10 December 2018, Human Rights Day "Freedom Online Dialogue: Conversations of Digital Rights, Security and Cyber Peace" has been held successfully in Bogura Bogura with the participation of stakeholders including rights groups, youth and students, women, teachers, advocates, writers and CSOs among others. The dialogue emphasized the challenges of freedom of expression online including censorship, surveillance and massive attacks on social media while they stressed to strengthening expression collectively without any fear. Also, participants raised concerns about the violence against women and girls, and they demanded responsible behaviour of users and urged the government to take immediate steps to enforce laws and policies so that the criminals get punished. The dialogue also expressed to promote and strengthen expression online and free and open internet access for all with an affordable price to build pluralism and democracy. Safe and secure internet must be upheld and online activists, bloggers and users must not be criminalized by the State. Also, widespread hate speech must not be exercised online, and legal measures should be taken, the dialogue emphasized.

Freedom Online Dialogue held today in Dhaka

By farjana - Posted on 08 December 2018

foe8.jpg

Speakers stressed to strengthen freedom of expression online facing the restrictions and challenges. They emphasized to uphold the spirit of democracy in online space and urged to the government to comply with the commitments it made to Constitution and follow the International laws and policies including Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Speakers also expressed concerned over the repressive laws including Digital Security Act 2018 which badly hampers free expression online and create a culture of fear among the rights and online activists and users at large. The event titled 'Freedom Online Dialogue' held today in Dhaka which is organised by VOICE in cooperation with APC and SIDA.

The dialogue was attended by the CSOs, lawyers, academicians, students and youth activists, private institutes, rights groups, community-based organisations and social movement groups.

Supreme Court Advocate Ershadul Bari, BIID Cheif executive SHahiuddin Akbar, Senior Lecturer of Law of Brac University Saimum Rea Piash, Badrul Alam spoke in the panel among others, Johirul Musa presented the research findings while Voice's executive director Ahmed Swapan Mahmud discussed the objectives of the event strengthening and upholding freedom online expression and urged to maintain human rights standards without State's control and interference.

Capacity Building Workshop "Rights and Freedom Online: Challenges of Digital Space, Cyber Crime and Security"

By farjana - Posted on 25 November 2018

Capacity Building Workshop "Rights and Freedom Online: Challenges of Digital Space, Cyber Crime and Security"

Strengthening free expression online urged

A day-long capacity building workshop has been held on 23 November 2018 in the Greenpark restaurant auditorium at Mymensingh. Online activists, women and youth groups, journalists, teachers, IT professionals, NGOs and rights groups participated in the workshop titled ‘Rights and Freedom Online: Challenges of Digital Space, Cyber Crime and Security’ organized by VOICE in cooperation with Association for Progressive Association (APC ) and Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). The workshop discussed the freedom of expression online, cybercrime and security combating threats of malware and securing the Net for peace and justice.

Aninda Mintu, Ahmed Swapan, Sajal Quraishy, Advocate Sibbir Liton, Selima Azad facilitated different sessions on the day while Swadheen Chowdhury facilitated the sessions and groups during the workshop. Participants demanded to expand the programmes and hold capacity building workshop further both in rural-urban areas considering disadvantaged communities including ethnic minorities, Dalits and youths, in particular.

Online freedom of expression must be upheld: Rights defenders

By farjana - Posted on 11 November 2018

1.jpg

Bangladesh risks continued failures to fulfill its human rights obligations if the arbitrary arrest and detention of people exercising their right to online freedom of expression are maintained, right defenders have said at a workshop in Dhaka today (November 10). Organized by Voices for Interactive Choice and Empowerment (VOICE) in cooperation with Association for Progressive Communications (APC), the capacity-building workshop was titled ‘Free and open internet: Cyber peace, security, rights, and regulations’.

The right defenders said, continued surveillance and censorship are creating a culture of fear among internet users in Bangladesh. Youth leaders, women activists, bloggers, lawyers, journalists, and IT professionals discussed key challenges and civil society’s responsibility in the workshop.

Existing laws in Bangladesh including the ICT Act, and newly enacted Digital Security Act criminalize severely restrict online expression and inflict disproportionate punishment, rights defenders said.

Capacity Building Workshop " Free and Open Internet: Cyber Peace, Security, Rights and Regulations"

By farjana - Posted on 08 November 2018

A Capacity Building Workshop titled " Free and Open Internet: Cyber Peace, Security, Rights and Regulations"  to be held on Saturday, 10 November 2018 from 9.00 am - 5.00 pm., at YWCA, 3/23 Iqbal Road, Mohammapur Dhaka-1207 

 

A day-long consultation on ‘Development Effectiveness’ held in Dhaka

By farjana - Posted on 04 April 2018

Group Pic_Consultation.jpg

Speakers emphasized researching to assess development effectiveness as well as dissemination of information about development effectiveness and the role of CSOs for better development results. 

 A day-long consultation on ‘Development Effectiveness’ was held on 29 March 2018 in Dhaka organized by VOICE, an advocacy and research organization, in cooperation with CPDE, a global platform of civil society. The consultation was attended by representatives of CSOs, member of civil society, community workers, dalit leaders, academicians, writers who were presided over by Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, Executive Director, VOICE. Dr Md. Rezaul Basher Siddique, Deputy Secretary of Economic Relations Division of Finance Ministry, Serajud Dahar Khan, Amin Ur Rasul spoke at the consultation among others. Mahbub Khan Badhon, Lecturer, University of Dhaka;  Zeenath Sultana from BRAC, Prakash Chandra Roy from Nagorik Uddyog presented their country experiences sharing a presentation on success stories in implementing project activities. 

A consultation on `Development Effectiveness' to be held on 29 March 2018

By farjana - Posted on 28 March 2018

A consultation on `Development Effectiveness' to be held on 29 March from 9:30 am. to 4:30 pm. at YWCA auditorium, 3/23 Iqbal Road, Mohammadpur, Dhaka 1207.  

The objective of the consultation is to broadly discuss about the development projects and policies related to development effectiveness including Paris declaration, Accra Action Agenda, Istanbul principles, and the activism of Global Partnership for Development Cooperation (GPEDC) and CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) in order to find out the better way to advocating for enabling environment for development effectiveness.

Workshop on`CSOS Enabling Environment and CSOs Development Effectiveness’

By farjana - Posted on 28 March 2018

A workshop (two-days-long training ) on `CSOS Enabling Environment and CSOs Development Effectiveness’ held on 4-5 March 2018 at CBCB Training Centre (24/C Asad Avenue Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207, Phone- 9123108; 9127339).  

The workshop discussed the issues of CSOs development effectiveness and CSOs enabling environment, their policies and practices including the progress so far. The workshop intended to build a broader constituency while enhancing capacity and strengthening networking and advocacy through raising voices on development effectiveness issues.

Call to Observe International Privacy Day: Demand data protection law to secure personal information

By farjana - Posted on 28 January 2018

[VOICE, Dhaka, 28 January 2018] `VOICE’ an advocacy organization calls NGOs, civil society organizations and rights groups to observe Privacy Day (28 January) uphold the right to privacy and data protection.

We urge the government to ensure people’s right to privacy through building policy coherence and creating an independent privacy commission. Any interception and surveillance of email, messaging, telephony involving recording the conversations of clients’ messages is illegal for any operator. “Privacy” itself is guaranteed under Article 39(2)(a) and Article 43 of the fundamental rights of the Bangladesh Constitution. Article 33(2)(a) entrenches “the right of every citizen to freedom of speech and expression” and Article 43 guarantees “the privacy of home and correspondence and communications”.

Privacy also guaranteed in Universal Declaration of Human Rights.A perception study on privacy rights conducted by VOICE, shows that 83% respondents feel uneasy to share very personal information (e.g. sexual desire) to others while 79% identified income as their 2nd most priority issue that they do not want to disclose and 75% people do not like to share information about their own resources.52% of respondents think that information would be unsafe and to used for other purposes.

Legal Notice to Protect Right to Privacy

By farjana - Posted on 06 November 2017

A legal notice has been issued by VOICE to the Secretary of Post and Telecommunications and Chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) demanding to protect the rights of mobile consumers and protecting right to privacy.

Mobile phone users of Bangladesh have been suffering and getting disturbances by unwanted call and various offer text/sms from mobile operating companies. Mobile phone companies promote and advertise their products without considering subscriber’s personal daily life’s routine and customer’s interest, and they are causing public annoyance.

No specific legal framework exists to control disturbances caused by the mobile operators.  Thus the legal notice urged to take steps immediately for making a guideline or policy regarding Telecommunication Consumer Protection for controlling unwanted calls and short messages (SMS)from mobile operators and protect rights to privacy of the consumers.

The notice also mentioned that failing to comply the right to privacy of the consumers, it will further go for Public Interest Litigation under Article 102 of the Constitution of the Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh in the Supreme Court of Bangladesh seeking proper justice. The notice has been issued by VOICE’s legal adviser Advocate Tanzim Al Islam.