Digital Security Bill nothing to muzzle journos: PM

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Hindustan Surkhiyan Desk: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today reiterated that the Digital Security Bill will not be a concern for journalists who will provide correct information.

“The journalists who will not provide false information do not need to be concerned about the Digital Security Bill… There is nothing to be concerned,” the premier said while addressing media at the Gono Bhaban in Dhaka this afternoon.

She said the act [Digital Security Bill] is concerning for those who publish false information. If they provide false information and fail to prove it, they will have to face the music, she added.

The prime minister also opined for incorporation a provision of compensation for those who are defamed by false news.

“Journalists are concerned [for the act], but who will be concerned for those who are defamed by false information,” she said responding to a query.

The parliament recently passed the Bill amid widespread criticism against some of its provisions that have been termed as a threat to freedom of speech and expression and the freedom of press as well.

Journalists and rights activists have expressed concerns about the new law, saying it was passed without addressing their concerns.

Responding to a query about Rohingya repatriation, Hasina said the international community is stepping up pressure on Myanmar authorities so that the Rohingyas can return to their home.

Asked about whether any steps will be taken regarding the corruption allegations against former Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha, the premier said, “The law will take its own course.”

About the upcoming parliamentary election, she hoped that all political parties will join the national election. If any political party does not take part in the election that will be its own decision, she said.

The press conference was arranged to brief journalists about the outcome of her recent weeklong visit to the USA to attend the 73rd UN General Assembly.

During her visit to the USA, Hasina addressed the 73rd session of the UNGA at the UN Headquarters in Bangla. She demanded immediate and effective implementation of the agreement concluded between Myanmar and the UN over resolving the Rohingya crisis.

On the sidelines of the UNGA sessions, the PM attended a number of high-level events and placed some specific proposals for resolving the Rohingya crisis.

Hasina had a meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and joined a reception hosted by US President Donald Trump. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also met her at her hotel suite in New York.

The PM held bilateral meetings with a number of world leaders and heads of international organisations, including Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid and Dutch Queen Maxima.

During the tour, she received the prestigious “International Achievement Award” given by Inter Press Service, a global news agency, for her dynamic leadership in addressing Rohingya crisis. Besides, Global Hope Coalition conferred her “2018 Special Recognition for Outstanding Leadership Award”.

She also addressed a press conference and attended a reception accorded to her by the Bangladesh community in the United States.

The PM went to the USA on September 21 and returned home on October 1.

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