Accusing the government of harassing journalists and opposition leaders and activists by implicating them in “false” cases under the Digital Security Act (DSA), BNP on Friday demanded the cancellation of the law.
In a statement, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir alleged that Khulna Press Club’s former vice president and NTV bureau chief Abu Tayeb Munsi has been arrested and sent to jail by implicating him in a false case under the DSA for publishing news on “corruption, immoral and illegal activities of Khulna mayor and his relatives”.
Besides, he said, “false” cases under the DSA were also filed against BNP leaders and activists in Feni and Laxmipur. “These heinous acts by the Awami government are just a small instance of the ongoing horrible misrule.”
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Fakhrul said writers, journalists, poets, cartoonists and human-rights activist are being repressed by arresting them in “false” cases under the Digital Security Act for writing on social media on the “failure, incompetence, repression, anti-democratic and anti-people activities, corruption, plundering, irregularities and reckless behaviour of the government, ministers and ruling party MPs and leaders”.
”After snatching democratic rights, black laws are now being used so that people can’t vent their grievances in digital platforms,” he alleged.
The BNP leader also said the journalists who are trying to work freely in the media and opposition leaders who are taking part in the anti-government movement are facing dire consequences with the DSA’s abuse. “Journalist Abu Tayeb was arrested under the DSA as part of the government’s move to gag the media.”
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He said the government is using repressive black laws like the Digital Security Act to hang onto power by suppressing people. “The present government can’t tolerate even the slightest criticism since it’s not elected by people. People’s freedom of speech, freedom of expressing and free thinking has been snatched using the black laws only to protect them from public wraths.”
Even in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Fakhrul said the government has exposed its “fascist character by abusing the DSA”.
“The Digital Security Act is undoubtedly a repressive black law. Despite demands from journalists, intellectuals and civil society, and political and human rights organisations at home and abroad for repealing the black law, the government is abusing the law to perpetuate its authoritarian and fascist rule,” he observed.
Fakhrul demanded the immediate release of Journalist Abu Tayeb and BNP leaders and activists by withdrawing the cases filed against them under the DSA. “We strongly demand the government stop harassment of people and withdraw the repressive law, the Digital Security Act.”