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Monday, August 24, 2015, Bhadra 9, 1422 BS, Zilqad 8, 1436 Hijr

Editors' Council demands revoking Section 57 of ICT Act
Published :Monday, 24 August, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 14

The forum of the print media editors of Bangladesh has demanded of the government to abolish the Information and Communication Technology Act's Section 57, which has created much controversy in the past few weeks.
The Editors' Council in a statement on Sunday said the section stood against independent journalism.
Their call has come against the backdrop of the arrest and remand of journalist Probir Sikdar.
Different quarters including rights and online activists have been demanding repealing Section 57 of the ICT Act, but Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu dismissed such call.
The Editors' Council also voiced the same concern at its meeting on Sunday, said the statement signed by its General Secretary and Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam.
It read, "Misuse of the Information and Communication Technology Act's Section 57 is against independent journalism. The demand to annul this Section and its sub-sections was made in the meeting."
Section 57 of the ICT Act criminalises 'publishing fake, obscene or defamatory information in electronic form'.
Offence under this provision is punishable by seven to 14 years in prison. Fine can be as high as Tk 10 million.
The law was passed in 2006 and was amended twice in 2009 and 2013. In the last amendment, offence under Section 57 was made non-bailable and the maximum penalty was extended to 14-year imprisonment.
Rights activists have been vocal against this legal provision, saying this effectively muzzles the freedom of speech and expression.    ?

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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