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Articles about VOICE from the news media.

Post-2015 MDGs: SBY urged to advocate for developing countries

By farjana - Posted on 27 March 2013

A world forum of civil society organizations is urging President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to push for greater state responsibility to ensure people’s welfare, especially in developing countries. 

Discussions on a global post- Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) still “lean to a market-based development approach, which means the expansion of the market that minimizes the responsibility of the state,” Sugeng Bahagijo of the international NGO the Indonesian Development Forum (INFID), said on Monday in Nusa Dua, Bali.

“The trend is for each country to recognize voluntary action in implementing the global development framework [which] is not binding and would be detrimental to the people. The responsibility of states must be laid out clearly through a binding universal mechanism,” Sugeng added. 

A 24-member advisory panel will meet on Tuesday after discussions on Monday between scholars, representatives of the public sector, civil society organizations and youth organziations. 

On Wednesday two of the three cochairs of the Bali High Level Panel, Yudhoyono and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, will conclude the talks, while cochair UK Prime Minister David Cameron will participate by video conference. 

Govt urged not to curb freedom of expression online

By farjana - Posted on 23 March 2013


Journalists, academics, rights activists and civil society representatives on Tuesday urged the government not to curb citizens’ freedom of expression by controlling internet use. 

They made the call at a dialogue on ‘Challenges and opportunities of freedom of expression online in Bangladesh’ and the launch of a report ‘Bangladesh: an assessment of freedom expression online’ at a local hotel in the capital.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression programme launched the report.

The speakers observed that there was no need to formulate an online policy, saying that the Shahbagh movement itself was the result of blogging or online activities.

Referring to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the speakers at the programme emphasised the need to ensure right to freedom of expression online and pluralism in society.

The event was organised by VOICE, in association with Bangladesh Manabadhikar Sangbadik Forum, Campaign on Citizen Right to Information, Equity and Justice Working Group, Online Knowledge Society, Sushashaner Jonno Pracharavijan, School of Communications and Cultural Metaphysics.

Tribunal needed to protect citizen’s right to privacy

By farjana - Posted on 12 February 2012

Tribunal needed to protect citizen’s right to privacy

Justice (Retd) Golam Rabbani on Saturday urged the government to form a national tribunal to protect citizens’ right to privacy. “The tribunal should operate in every district in Bangladesh and collect anecdotal evidence from ordinary people, so as to form an effective policy to protect their rights to privacy,” he said during a ‘National convention on right to privacy and data protection.’

It was held at CIRDAP auditorium in the capital and organised by the non-governmental organization Voice, in association with Bangladesh ICT Journalist’s Forum, Campaign for Citizen’s Right to Information, Campaign for Good Governance, Privacy International, Media watch, Equitybd and somewhere

Justice Rabbani said the Right to Information Act 2009 emphasises that information that may endanger public security or impede the judicial process should not be disclosed.
“The problem is that many people remain unaware of the RTI Act. Everyone should become familiar with the concepts of privacy and disclosure,” he said.

Sayed Marghub Morshed, former chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) said that protecting individual’s personal information has become more crucial than ever before.

Establish Climate Migrants Rights : Campaign Kicked Off from Dhaka !

By farjana - Posted on 02 November 2011

Civil society groups Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), Campaign for Sustainable Rural LIvelihood (CSRL), EquityBD, Network on Climate Change, Bangladesh (NCCB), Campaign For Good Governance (SUPRO) and Voices for Interactive Choice & Empowerment (VOICE) organized a seminar "Climate Induced Migrants : A Political and Development Agenda" at the national press club on 1st November 2011. The leader of the Official Bangladesh Delegation to UNFCCC State Minister for the Ministry of Environment and Forest Dr. Hasan Mahmud, Members of Parliament and civil society groups attended the meeting. The press release and media coverage are put below:


Establish climate migrants' rights'

Keeping out WB from climate fund stressed

By farjana - Posted on 14 October 2011


Eighteen Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Sunday claimed Bangladesh has fallen into a corruption trap following the climate fund management.

This trap will help the World Bank (WB) to establish control over climate fund, the representatives from the CSOs expressed in their observation.

They urged the government to accumulate all climate funds under a single autonomous board to avoid any trap and keep WB out of climate finance which the LDC nations have been promised.

The civil society rights groups led by EquityBD said these while forming a human chain in front of the National Press Club in city.

Representatives from CSRL, BUP, Humanity Watch, APON, ASOW, Online Knowledge Centre, EquityBD, Lead Trust, NCCB, Bangladesh Bhumihin Somity, Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Jatiya Sramik Jote, SIRAC Bangladesh, DCI, PRAN, SDO, SUPRO and VOICE participated in the human wall.

Mostafa Kamal Akanda of EquityBD coordinated the progarmme while Mizanur Rahman Bijoy of NCCB, Prodip Kumar Roy of Online Knowledge Centre, Syed Aminul Haque of EquityBD, Fakhrul Ferdous of DCI, Mohin Ahmed of Bangladesh Krishok Federation, Farhana Akther of SUPRO, among others, spoke on the occasion.

Remove CCTV cameras from beauty parlours: HC

By farjana - Posted on 11 October 2011

A High Court bench on Monday ordered the government to remove closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras from the service rooms of beauty parlours across the country.

The order came amid an outcry over privacy after a woman made allegations to police and the media that she was taped on a CCTV camera while taking service at Persona on September 30.

Acting on a writ petition filed by a rights organisation, Justice Farid Ahmed and Justice Sheikh Hasan Arif passed the order.

The judges also issued a rule asking five senior government officials to explain within two weeks why they should not be directed to make a policy over the sue of CCTV cameras in service rooms of female saloons.

The respondents included the information secretary, home secretary, labour secretary, inspector general of police and the director general of Rapid Action Battalion.

Earlier in the day, Advocate Alena Khan, chief executive of Bangladesh Human Rights Foundation, filed the writ petition as public interest litigation.

The petition says after the Persona incident most of the people irrespective of female and male used to take parlour services are in fear that they might have been captured by CCTV cameras and their footage was used for an illegal motive.


Rights group urges scrutiny of Bangladesh spy agency

By farjana - Posted on 26 September 2011

Sun Sep 25 15:31:11 2011 

Saleem Samad - AHN News Correspondent

 Dhaka, Bangladesh - (AHN)

Bangladesh security agencies need to be under scrutiny of the parliament, as they are blamed for infringement of privacy by tapping phones and hacking emails.

Former senior bureaucrat Margub Murshed made the statement Sunday, saying that during his time as head of the telecom regulatory body, he turned down an offer by security agencies to wire tapping private individuals without proper authorization.

His statement was backed up by others attending a discussion Sunday organized by rights organization VOICE in the capital.

Akhteruzzaman Manju, the head of an Internet service provider association, disclosed that they are forced to provide details of email traffic to the telecom authority commission every three months in violation of privacy rights.

News Coverage of Meet the Press on Why Protection of PRIVACY RIGHTS IS NECESSARY

By farjana - Posted on 25 September 2011

Protection of privacy rights demanded

Speakers at meeting on Saturday demanded protection ofprivacy rights of the citizens while using internet, cell phone and other IT media for various purposes.

They also demanded maintaining privacy of personal datawhile providing to the government and non-government organizations.

Voice for Interactive Choice and Empowerment (VOICE), anon-government organization, held an exchange of views meeting at the JatiyaPress Club with its executive director Ahmed Swapan Mahmud in the chair.Pointing to Article 43 of the Constitution on protection of home andcorrespondence, they said every citizen shall have the right to be secured inhis home against entry, search and seizure.

The citizens shall also have the privacy to hiscorrespondence and other means of communication, they added.

Initiate district budget for rural development: Rights group

By farjana - Posted on 23 May 2011

Rights activists urged the government to initiate district budget in the national budget for the next financial year for the development of rural areas as well as achieving the Vision 2021 as envisaged.

They said that the present budget preparation as colonial top down process and there is no alternative to achieve Vision 2021without district budget.

They were speaking at a rally organised by 14 rights based civil society organisations led by EquityBD in front of the National Press Club on Saturday. The organisations include Arpon, Ahish, Online Knowledge Centre, EquityBD, Eso, SDO, MABS, Lead Trust, Prodip, BNNRC, Voice, Bangladesh Bhumihin Samity, Bangladesh Krihsok Federation and Sirak Bangladesh.

SM Saikat of Sirak Bangladesh said people have no participation in preparing the budget. Nor the people from district level have the means to monitor implementation of the budget. Absence of people’s participation in the process and implementation of the budget has given the rise of pervasive corruption.

Feroze Ahmed of Lead Trust said the top down process is basically responsible for growing trend of widening the gap of regional disparity.

Formation of ‘privacy commission' demanded

By farjana - Posted on 29 January 2011

Observation of Data Privacy Day

A non-government organisation has demanded formation of independent 'Privacy Commission' in a bid to establish the rights of secrecy and protect personal information, reports

'Voice,' a development research organisation, made the demand at a press conference on Friday on the eve of International Privacy Day.

The organisation also urged the government to amend the Telecommunications Act-2006 to protect the rights to personal privacy.

Different European countries, along with the USA, have been observing Jan 28 as 'Data Privacy Day' since 2008. Several Asian countries have started observing the day this year.
The executive director of 'Voice,' Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, said that the road to economic advancement and the communications of the people were extended due to the Right to Information Act and the development of information technology, 'but personal privacy rights were being violated through it.'

As per the Telecommunications Act, Mahmud said, the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), police and Detective Branch (DB) can eavesdrop anyone's phone call for the security of the country, "but one has to take permission from the authorities to protect personal information, if there is a Privacy Commission."