Decrease in cases under DSA: Minister of Justice

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Justice Minister Anisul Huq. — File photo.

Justice Minister Anisul Huq said on Tuesday that the number of cases under the Digital Security Act was decreasing in Bangladesh due to government initiatives.

Law enforcement does not arrest defendants in a hurry, nor does it speak directly about DSA cases. Cases under the DSA are sent to the special cell, he said.

Anisul Huq was speaking during a dialogue on “Mass Media Employees Act, Digital Security Act and Data Protection Act” organized by the Bangladesh Secretariat Reporters Forum at the Media Center of the Secretariat .

In response to a question on the progress of the Government’s assurance to amend the much-criticized DSA, the Minister said: “We held a meeting with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in 2019 at Geneva through the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh. At the meeting, we made the decision to form two separate committees. The committees will recommend to us the best practices in the world and we will accept those that are suitable for Bangladesh. We have already formed a committee headed by the legislative secretary.

This committee sat in a meeting and will meet again very soon, he added.

Anisul claimed that DSA was not intended to hamper free journalism in the country.

“Technology has improved in the country. We have to deal with the disadvantages of technology. DSA was created to meet this challenge. A committee has been working to end abuses of the law and abuses will surely be stopped in the future,” the minister said.

“We want to assure everyone that the Digital Security Act was developed to combat cybercrimes. Sheikh Hasina’s government will not formulate any kind of law banning press freedom,” he said.

About the draft data protection law, Anisul said, he was briefed on its pros and cons by an informed Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry team.

He said he discussed the issue with the Minister of State for ICT. The Minister of State assured that the proposal would be considered.

Anisul defended the government’s decision to enact a law for media employees.

He said journalists could demand corrections to the bill instead of canceling it.

BSRF President Tapan Biswas chaired the dialogue while its Secretary General Masudul Haque moderated it.

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