Momen suggests reading Cyber Security Bill before criticizing

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen today suggested all to read the Cyber Security Bill, passed in the parliament on Wednesday, first before criticizing it as all concerns were addressed into the new act. “Someone may criticize the new act to get compassion from the foreigners,” he told reporters when responding to a question at a media briefing at the foreign ministry here. The foreign minister said that though people criticise the law, they usually come forward to seek help if they get in any trouble.“What would you do when someone write something bad about your mother or sister on internet?” he raised the question. State minister for foreign affairs Md Shahriar Alam also spoke at the briefing. Alam said there were some observations by some foreign countries regarding the previous Digital Security Act while the new act addressed those observations and accommodated all concerns. “We truly expect, all will accept it in a good spirit,” he said.The State Minister said there are more notorious laws in the Western world compared to Bangladesh and due to lack of knowledge proper comparison are not seen in practice.The Cyber Security Bill 2023 was passed in parliament on Wednesday with a provision making offences under four of its sections non-bailable while the previous Digital Security Act made offences under 14 sections were non-bailable.Meanwhile, the European Parliament moved a joint non-legislative resolution expressing concerns over the deterioration of the human rights situation in Bangladesh.Regarding the proposed EU resolution, the state minister expressed hope that the European Parliament would refrain from interfering in Bangladesh’s internal matters, particularly those under legal proceedings in our courts. He said that the government cannot sit idle closing eyes if there is any propaganda against Bangladesh.”We hope common sense (in EU parliament) will prevail,” he added.In a statement this afternoon the US embassy here said Washington regretted that the Bangladesh government did not give stakeholders adequate opportunity to review and provide input to the new law to ensure it meets international standards. “Unfortunately, the CSA (cyber security act) retains many aspects of its predecessor, the Digital Security Act. The new legislation continues to criminalize freedom of expression, retains non-bailable offenses, and too easily could be misused to arrest, detain, and silence critics,” read the statement.

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