Rights body VOICE urges scrapping DSA

Rights and advocacy organisation Voice had expressed deep concern over the arrest of journalists, online activists, teachers, students, writers, and cartoonists, among others, under Digital Security Act 2018, and urged to scrap the law.

In a press release on Saturday, the Dhaka-based organisation urged the government to show respect to the constitutional obligations, international human rights principles, and freedom of expression.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, arrest of journalists and other online activists have also increased, said Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, executive director of Voice in the release.

The release said that the government had applied massive surveillance, restrictions on freedom of expression, and free flow of information.

The continued attacks, threats, harassments, intimidation, and lawsuits against journalists, writers, teachers, students, and social media activists over reports on corruption, irregularities clearly indicates that the freedom of expression is under serious threat in the country, the press release said.

The journalists who are working are facing multi-faceted challenges including lawsuits, lack of access to information, restrictions, and pressure from the administration, and due to these hurdles, the journalists are suffering badly, it added.

Voice urged that the government must respect freedom of expression which was asserted in Article-39 of Bangladesh’s Constitution as a fundamental right of people.

It also urged government to take immediate measures releasing the victims under DSA and asked to make the repressive digital security law obsolete.

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