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Online freedom of expression must be upheld: Rights defenders

By farjana - Posted on 11 November 2018


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. 






In the spotlight : Thesis paper by Farhana Akter

By farjana - Posted on 13 October 2017



Farhana Akter, Programme Co-ordinator of VOICE successfully completed "Master of Arts 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