Dhaka, Oct 11 (UNB) - The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Myanmar authorities to immediately release without charge three journalists from Eleven Media Group arrested on Wednesday.
Eleven Media's executive editors Kyaw Zaw Lin and Nayi Min, and chief reporter Phyo Wai Win handed themselves over to police after the Yangon Regional Government accused them of causing "fear or alarm to the public" for a story that published "incorrect information" according to news reports.
A court ordered the journalists to remain in custody and they were taken to Insein prison, according to CPJ.
Separately, Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of the civilian government, stated in an interview that "there is a lot of press freedom in Myanmar."
Despite high hopes for a more open press freedom environment as Myanmar began its transition to democracy under Suu Kyi, CPJ has documented how it has instead backtracked.
Last month, Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were convicted under the Official Secrets Act and sentenced to seven years each in prison.
Dhaka, Oct 11 (UNB) – Sampadak Parishad, a platform of newspaper editors, on Thursday decided to hold a press conference on October 13 at 12 noon at the National Press Club to reiterate its demand that the Digital Security Act be amended to protect freedom of speech, independent journalism and media institutions from the threat of police intervention and arbitrary arrest.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Sampadak Parishad held today at The Daily Star Centre with the Daily Ittefaq Editor Tasmima Hossain in the chair, said a statement the Parishad issued after the meeting.
It reiterated that “The Parishad accepts the need for strengthening cyber security through an appropriate legal framework but opposes some specific sections of the Digital Security Act recently signed into law by the President, namely sections 8, 21, 25, 28, 29, 31, 32, 43 and 53.”
Sampadak Parishad expressed deep disappointment that “The specific promise made by three cabinet ministers and Information Advisor to Prime Minister about taking Sampadak Parishad’s concern to the cabinet and opening the process of discussions with all stakeholders to prepare an amended version of The Digital Security Act was not honoured.”
“It (Parishad) considers this to be a breach of trust that the Parishad had reposed, in good faith, on the commitment made by three senior cabinet ministers and Information Advisor to Prime Minister; It may be recalled that the meeting was held at the initiative of Information Minister, Hasanul Huq Inu who, while extending the invitation committed to opening a new series of discussions, a commitment that was supported by the Law Minister and the ICT minister in the meeting.” The statement read.
It further noted, “Demands that The Digital Security Act be amended, as specified above, in the next session of the present parliament which will be held in near future. We consider this to be a good opportunity to respond to the concerns of all journalists and citizens in general who consider the Digital Act as a serious threat to freedom of speech and freedom of expression.”
Sampadak Parishad stated that “Digital Scurity Act is against our rights to freedom of speech and freedom of press as guaranteed by the Constitution under Art. 39 (a) and (b); The values of freedom, free speech and rights enshrined in the Spirit of our Liberation War; The fundamental norms of democracy, free society and fundamental rights guaranteed in the UN Charter and other international laws and instruments; and the core values of ethical and independent journalism.”
The statement was issued by Tasmima Hossain, Acting Editor, Daily Ittefaq; Reazuddin Ahmed, Founding Editor, News Today; Matiur Rahman Chowdhury, Editor, Manabzamin; Nurul Kabir, Editor, New Age; Matiur Rahman, Editor, Prothom Alo; Mahfuz Anam, Editor, The Daily Star; Shyamal Dutta, Editor, Bhorer Kagoj; Naem Nizam, Editor, Bangladesh Pratidin; Imdadul Haq Milan, Editor, Kaler Kantho; Alamgir Mohiuddin, Editor, Naya Diganta; M. A. Malek, Editor, Dainik Azadi; Md. Mozammel Haque, Editor, Karatoa; AMM Bahauddin, Editor, Daily Inqilab; 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; Shahiduzzaman Khan, Acting Editor, The Financial Express; and Mustafiz Shafi, Acting Editor, Samakal.
Dhaka, Oct 11 (UNB) - Five members of a fraud gang were sued under the Digital Security Act, 2018 after police arrested them from different parts of the capital on charge of cheating people by selling ‘fake question papers’ of medical admission test digitally.
DC (Mothijheel division) of DMP Anwar Hossain confirmed that it was the first case filed under the newly enacted act.
Briefing reporters at the CID headquarters of Malibagh in the city on Thursday, its Special Super (Organised Crime unit) Molla Nazrul Islam said a special team of the Organised Crime unit conducted simultaneous drives in the city’s Kajla and Dhania of Jatrabari and Alifnagar of Badda area from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Wednesday based on secret information and arrested them.
Then they filed a case with Paltan Police Station under the Digital Security Act 2018, he said.
During a preliminary interrogation, Kawser Gazi revealed that they prepared fake question papers of medical admission test as they failed to leak the real question papers this time.
Later, they sold the fake question papers to some admission seekers using fake IDs of Facebook.
“The case is now under investigation. We hope more members of the syndicate would be arrested soon,” he hoped.
The CID team also seized mobile phone sets, laptops and SIM cards from their possessions.
The arrestees are Kawser Gazi, 19, hailing from Pirojpur, Md Sohel Mia, 21, hailing from Matlab upazila in Chandpur district, Md Tariqul Islam Shovon, 19, hailing from Madaripur district, Rubyat Tanvir alias Adittya, of Noagaon and Masudur Rahman Imon, hailing from Tangail district.
Amid concerns from different quarters, the ‘Digital Security Bill, 2018' was passed in Parliament on September 19 to deal with cybercrimes, including hurting the religious sentiment, negative propaganda against the Liberation War and Bangabandhu, and illegal activities in e-transactions and spreading defamatory data.
President Abdul Hamid assented to the much-talked-about Digital Security Bill making it a law on October 8.
Dhaka, Oct 11 (UNB) - Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has initiated an inquiry against Transcom Group Chairman and chief executive officer Latifur Rahman for allegedly earning illegal wealth.
ACC public relation officer Pranab Kumar Bhattacharjee told UNB that ACC on Thursday summoned him to appear before the ACC on October 18 for interrogation by the commission over alleged accumulation of illegal wealth.
ACC’s deputy director Nasir Uddin asked Latifur Rahman to appear before the commission’s headquarters with photocopies of his national identity card and passport at 10 am to face interrogation over his and his family members’ alleged involvement in amassing illegal wealth and money laundering.
ACC spokesperson Pranab Kumar Bhattacharjee also said the commission started the inquiry against Latifur after receiving complaints that he and his family members accumulated huge illegal wealth by evading VAT, electricity bills and gas bills of different companies of the group.
ACC spokesman said there are also allegations of money laundering and government land grabbing against Latifur Rahman and his family members.
Dhaka, Oct 11 (UNB) - Around 750,000 people in Bangladesh are suffering from blindness and cataract mainly because of their vision impairment, say speakers.
Ophthalmologists and eye health experts disclosed the information at a discussion held in the city on Thursday in observance of the World Sight Day 2018.
They said other main reasons for the blindness are refractive errors, diabetic retinopathy and childhood blindness.
According to them, around 80 percent blindness is avoidable by intervention, said a press release.
An approximately 253 million people in the world live with moderate to severe vision impairment -- around 36 million of them blind.
They said 89 percent of the vision impaired people live in low and middle-income countries.
National Eye Care under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare organised the discussion as part of the countrywide observance of the World Sight Day under the theme ‘Eye Care Everywhere’.
Before the discussion at National Institute of Ophthalmology and Hospital (NIOH) at Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, a colourful procession was taken out from the hospital.
Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi led the procession. He also spoke at the discussion as the chief guest.
Prime Minister’s Health and Family Welfare Affairs Adviser Dr Syed Modasser Ali, Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology Vice-present Dr Ava Hossain and Ophthalmology Society of Bangladesh President Dr Sharfuddin Ahmed were present as the special guests.
National Eye Care Line Director and NIOH Director Dr Golam Mostafa presented the keynote paper at the discussion.
He said around 1.5 million children in Bangladesh are suffering from low vision, which can be avoided through intervention. According to him, around 250,000 people in Bangladesh risk losing eyesight because of diabetic retinopathy.
Organisers at the programme said the National Eye Care and International Agency for Prevention of Blindness are working together to eliminate avoidable blindness.
INGO Forum, comprising Sightsavers, Orbis International, the Fred Hollows Foundation, Helen Keller International, CBM, BRAC, Heart to Heart Foundation and Andheri Hilfe, is supporting their work.