Dhaka, Sep 16 (UNB) – The Sampadak Parishad, a council of newspaper editors, on Sunday expresses its surprise, disappointment and shock at the final report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Post, Telecommunication and ICT on the draft digital security law.
The report has totally ignored the protests and concerns expressed by journalists and media organisations, said the Sampadak Parishad in a statement issued after it held a meeting today at The Daily Star Centre in the city.
“We are forced to reject the said report as it suggested no fundamental changes to sections 8,21,25,28,29,31,32, and 43 of the Draft Act that pose serious threats to freedom of expression and media operation,” the statement read.
It welcomed the inclusion of the Right to Information Act (RTI) under section 3, but said, “We express our concern at the inclusion of the colonial era Official Secrets Act that is in clear contradiction with the RTI.”
The Sampadak Parishad recalled that it had a meeting with the law minister in the presence of the ICT minister during which both ministers assured the editors of taking measures to mitigate their concerns.
“We also recall with gratitude that the aforementioned JS Standing Committee met with the representatives of Sampadak Parishad, BFUJ and ATCO over two sittings during which we showed how the draft law stifles media freedom, a prerequisite for any democracy. The JS committee was supposed to meet with us once more before finalising its report but the meeting never took place,” the statement said.
The Sampadak Parishad said it is forced to reject the JS body report and the draft Digital Act because: a) It is opposed to the guarantees of freedom of expression and freedom of the press by the Constitution in Articles 39(2) A and B; b) It is opposed to the idea of freedom of thoughts and independence of media as enshrined in the spirit of our Liberation War; c) It is opposed to the basic practice of democracy that Bangladesh has always fought and stood for; and d) It is opposed to the fundamental principles of journalism and freedom of the media that journalists in Bangladesh have struggled for.
“In conclusion, we sincerely urge the Parliament, which is the House of the People and the repository of peoples’ aspiration for all sorts of freedoms not to pass this draft Digital Security Act which will gravely affect journalistic freedoms and seriously curtail democracy in Bangladesh,” said the statement.
The statement is made by: Reazuddin Ahmed, Founding Editor, News Today, Matiur Rahman Chowdhury, Editor, Manabzamin, Matiur Rahman, Editor, Prothom Alo, Nurul Kabir, Editor, New Age, Mahfuz Anam, Editor, The Daily Star, Shyamal Dutta, Editor, Bhorer Kagoj, Imdadul Haq Milan, Editor, Kaler Kantho, Naem Nizam, Editor, Bangladesh Pratidin, Alamgir Mohiuddin, Editor, Naya Diganta, AMM Bahauddin, Editor, Daily Inqilab, M. A. Malek, Editor, Dainik Azadi, Md. Mozammel Haque, Editor, Karatoa, M Shamsur Rahman, Editor, The Independent, Khandaker Muniruzzaman, Acting Editor, Sangbad, Saiful Alam, Acting Editor, Jugantor, Dewan Hanif Mahmud, Editor, Bonik Barta, Zafar Sobhan, Editor, Dhaka Tribune, Mustafiz Shafi, Acting Editor, Samakal, and Shahiduzzaman Khan, Acting Editor, Financial Express.
Dhaka, Sept 16 (UNB) – The government has extended appointment tenure of Farid Hossain, Minister (Press) at Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi, for two more years.
The Ministry of Public Administration issued a gazette notification in this regard on Sunday.
The extension of contractual appointment for another two years will be effective from September 22 or date of joining keeping all previous terms and conditions unchanged, the notification reads.
Senior journalist and former Bangladesh Bureau Chief of Associated Press (AP) Farid Hossain joined Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi in September 2016.
Dhaka, Sept 16 (UNB) - A five-member delegation of the transgender community on Sunday met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to express their gratitude to her for recognising them as the “third gender”.
Transgender Abida Islam Moyuri led the team at the meeting held at the PM’s Sangsad Bhaban office.
PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
He described the meeting as an emotional interaction.
He said when Moyuri in an emotion-choked voice asked Sheikh Hasina to accept her as her own child, the Prime Minister replied, “Yes, you’re my child.”
Extending their thanks to the Prime Minister for recognising transgender people as the third gender, Moyuri said no government in the past worked for their welfare.
Sheikh Hasina encouraged them to work for society.
The government extended different welfare services for the transgender people and ensured their rights to stay with their families, she said.
The delegation works for the welfare of the transgender people in Jalamlpur district under the banner of ‘Siri Samaj Kalyan Sangstha’.
Sangsad Bhaban, Sept 16 (UNB) - Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid on Sunday said the issue of MPO enlistment of private educational institutions will be finalised by next month.
The minister said this while replying to a supplementary question from AKM Jahangir Hossain in Parliament.
After 2010, it was not possible to include any educational institution in the MPO for lack of approval of the Finance Ministry.
“We had requested the Finance Ministry to allocate money long time ago. The Finance Minister has agreed and allotted some money,” Nahid told the House.
The minister said his ministry has fixed criteria for the MPO enlistment and floated a circular in this connection. Now the interested institutions will apply online and there will be scrutiny, he added.
The issue will be finalised by next month after having the opinion of the Prime Minister, the minister said.
“But I can’t tell you how many institutions will be enlisted… there’re some matters here; we’re trying to increase the number and it’ll be finalised by next month,” he said.
Savar, Sept 16 (UNB) - A faction of Awami League-backed teachers of Jahangirnagar University (JU) staged a sit-in in front of the Vice-chancellor’s office on the campus on Sunday demanding dropping probe into the allegation of recording VC’s conversation secretly against two of their fellows.
Over 25 teachers under the banner of ‘Bangabandhur Adarsha O Muktijuddher Chetonay Biswashi Progatishil Shikkhak Samaj’ took position at in front of the VC office around 12 noon and continued their protest for half an hour.
Terming the allegation baseless, spokesman of the teacher’s group Associate Professor Farid Ahmed claimed that VC Prof Farzana Islam formed the probe body to investigate a ‘false’ allegation against Geography department teacher Prof Shahedur Rashid and
Associate Professor of the Law and Justice department Md Rabiul Islam.
‘There’s a specific ordinance of teachers’ discipline and skills in the university act. According to the act, only syndicate can investigate any allegation against any teacher of the university by forming a fact-finding committee,” he said.
“We came here to protest the illegal decision of the Vice-chancellor as she didn’t follow the law, Farid Ahmed added.
Meanwhile, Prof Farzana Islam was not in her office during the sit-in programme.
Earlier, a probe committee was formed with Prof Farhad Hossain of Statistics department as its head look into the allegation.
The JU teachers allegedly recorded the conversation of the VC through their mobile phones secretly during an informal meeting.