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.

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. 






In the spotlight : Thesis paper by Farhana Akter

By farjana - Posted on 13 October 2017



Farhana Akter, Program Coordinator of VOICE successfully completed "Masters in Inter Asia NGO Studies" with distinction from SungKongHoe University, South Korea.  


As part of her Master’s thesis, she performed a comprehensive analysis on communication surveillance in Bangladesh which received the best thesis award. 


In this dissertation, which goes through an extensive list of reference materials, Farhana outlines the several facets of communication surveillance ranging from local to national and global level. Her work reveals how surveillance has become a key site for understanding the workings of power within the global informational economy. Truely, surveillance is no longer merely a matter of deliberate, individual scrutiny and consequent fears for personal privacy. It has become an everyday experience, run by myriad agencies for multiple purposes and exempting no one. 


Furthermore, every state has the obligation to respect, protect and fulfil human rights – Farhana argues, and privacy is one of those rights. This thesis elaborates on the links among privacy, human rights and global surveillance and reviews critical challenges. 


Facebook refuses MoU with Bangladesh police

By farjana - Posted on 23 March 2017

The proposal was placed before representatives of the social media platform on the sidelines of the international police chiefs conference in Dhaka on Monday.

Social networking giant Facebook has refused to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh Police, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) AKM Shahidul Hoque has revealed.

“Bangladesh wanted to sign an MoU with Facebook, however they refused as such deals are against their policy,” the IGP said. “However, they assured us that they would cooperate with Bangladesh police whenever required.”

The IGP added that, while no MoU would be signed, representatives of the social media site said they would discuss the proposed measures placed before them by the Bangladesh Police.

Earlier on Monday, Bangladesh Police asked Facebook authorities to demand additional identification, including NID numbers, from Bangladesh nationals who want to sign up to the social network.

The proposition was raised during a bilateral meeting between Bangladesh Police and Facebook representatives on the sidelines of the ongoing conference of police chiefs of South Asia, as many militants are found to have been radicalised through social media.

Article on Technical Cooperation in Bangladesh

By farjana - Posted on 17 November 2016

"Vision 21 Plan, also known as the Perspective Plan (2010 - 2021), provides a road map for economic growth whereby Bangladesh will become a middle-income country by the year 2021. It was developed with the assumption that foreign aid will continue to play an important role in the country’s development. 

Although foreign aid contributions have been decreasing, they still figure prominently the country’s Annual Development Plan (ADP) with more than 30% of the ADP being supported by aid in 2015. However, several studies have identified concerns regarding the management and coordination of foreign aid as well as its alignment with national development plans and strategies. In the case of aid delivered through Technical Assistance (TA), country ownership, alignment and effectiveness are largely absent. Lack of enforcement of these aid principles has frequently been noted in TA projects and activities". 


Full report:file:///F:/Back%20Up%20C%20drive/Downloads/RoA%20Full%20Report%202016%20ecopy.pdf

Pre-budget discussion held on 7 May 2016

By farjana - Posted on 10 May 2016


A pre-budget discussion held on 7 May 2016 at National Press Club, Dhaka. The discussion was jointly organised by SUPRO and other 7 civil society organisations including VOICE. The occasion widely covered by national media. Some news links have pasted below:









Legal notice seeks halt to biometric SIM registration

By farjana - Posted on 12 March 2016

A Supreme Court lawyer on Wednesday, March 2, 2016, serves a legal notice seeking halt on biometric registration for subscriber identity module (SIM) cards of mobile operators claiming it violates privacy and has a potential malafide purpose. Star file photo

A Supreme Court lawyer today served a legal notice seeking a halt to biometric registration for subscriber identity module (SIM) cards of mobile operators claiming it violates privacy and has a potential malafide intention.

Lawyer Md Humayan Kabir Pallab also added concerns that the biometric data, supplied to some private companies, might be used for criminal activities.

The lawyer served the notice on behalf of Khairul Hasan Sarker, a citizen from Segun Bagicha in Dhaka. The collection of biometric data is absolutely illegal, arbitrary, malafide and without any substance of state security, he said in the legal notice.

Post and telecommunication secretary, law secretary, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), inspector-general of police (IGP), Dhaka metropolitan police commissioner, Grameenphone, Robi Axiata Ltd, Airtel Bangladesh Ltd, Banglalink Ltd, Teletalk Bangladesh Ltd, and Pacific Bangladesh Ltd (Citycell) have been made respondents to the legal notice.

Call to form participatory, inclusive nat'l implementation plan for SDGs

By farjana - Posted on 15 October 2015

Speakers at a city programme on Wednesday emphasized the importance of implementation of the `Transforming our World - The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)' that has been adopted by the September 25-27 UN General Assembly in New York.
A Meet-the-Press event was held in this regard at the Jatiya Press Club jointly organised by development research organisation VOICE and NOW SDGs and Beyond 2015, a global civil society platform advocating for sustainable development goals.
VOICE Executive Director Ahmed Swapan Mahmud in his keynote paper termed political will as indispensable to start implementation of the 2030 Agenda at national, sub-national and local levels including introduction of clear plans and timelines for participatory implementation at national and local levels. He, however, stressed the need to formulate a national sustainable development strategy for implementation of SDGs through a participatory process. "Governments must prioritize sustainable development investment, especially in pro-poor infrastructure and utilities, which starts with the needs of the poorest and the most marginalized people, ensuring that programme success indicators are linked directly to positive and measurable impacts," he said.

Speakers Demanded to Form a Participatory and Inclusive National Implementation Plan for SDGs

By farjana - Posted on 14 October 2015

Poster Design.jpg

[Dhaka, 14 October 2015] Speakers emphasized the importance of implementation of the `Transforming our World - The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG)’ that has been adopted by the United Nations Member States in 25-27 September 2015 in New York through UN’s 70th General Assembly. A Meet-the-Press event was held at the National Press Club today jointly organised by VOICE, a development research organisation, NOW SDGs and Beyond 2015, a global civil-society platform advocating for sustainable development goals. Reading out the key note paper, Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of VOICE told that political will is indispensable to start implementation of the 2030 Agenda at national, sub-national and local levels, including introducing clear plans and timelines for participatory implementation at national and local levels.

Meet the Press

By farjana - Posted on 12 October 2015

A Meet the Press is to be held at the conference room of National Press Club, Dhaka at 11 a.m. on 14 October 2015. The event will be organized by VOICE and Beyond 2015. 

The meeting will discuss on how we, the stakeholders including civil society, media, business sector can play a collective role in review and monitoring SDGs. It will demand Government to formulate national strategy of implementation SDGs and form a national committee comprising the representatives from the different stakeholders in a transparent and accountable way.