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Press Releases written by Voice

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

By farjana - Posted on 13 December 2018


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


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.

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.

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

By farjana - Posted on 04 April 2018

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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. 

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. 






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:



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

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[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.

Speakers Demanded to Form a Participatory and Inclusive National Implementation Committee on SDGs

By farjana - Posted on 11 September 2015


Speakers emphasized the importance of implementation of the `Transforming our World - The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDG)’ ahead of United Nations Summit in New York from 25-27 September 2015 for the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals. 

As the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ended in September 2015, the United Nations undertakes new development framework that will be adopted in 25-27 September 2015 through its 70th General Assembly. Speakers highlighted that a majority of people are living in the extreme poverty condition though Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is being reached to end while many of the goals would not be fully met by 2015. Speakers indicated the growing inequality between rich and poor and among countries emerged as a huge challenge that must be properly addressed in the new framework that will be adopted at the United Nations Summit in September. Speakers urged a sustainable agenda for the world based on equality and redistributive justice for all enshrined by human rights.