Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury on Monday urged the government to abolish the Digital Security Act for strengthening democracy and removing the obstacle to investigative journalism.
Speaking at a human-chain programme, he also called upon the government to withdraw all the cases filed against journalists under the act and ensure the freedom of press.
“Give journalists the scope for divulging facts. All the cases filed against them have to be withdrawn. Not only that, I also call upon the Prime Minister to annul the Digital Security Act and send it to the grave. It’ll benefit you (PM), the country and its people. It’ll also help strengthen democracy,” Zafrullah said.
Bangladesh Mofussil Journalists’ Association arranged the programme in front of the Jatiya Press Club demanding the release of Ruhul Amin Gazi, president of a faction of the Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ).
Stating that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday urged journalists to write reports based on facts shunning yellow journalism, he said unethical or yellow journalism flourishes when the freedom of press is obstructed.
"When such an act (digital security one) is used against journalists to prevent them from investigating facts, then yellow journalism and militancy emerge in the country,” the noted intellectual observed.
Zafrullah, also a freedom fighter, alleged that the government’s wrong policy, unfair behaviour and repressive acts are taking the country to a wrong direction.
He also criticised the government for arresting some journalists, including Ruhul Amin Gazi and photographer Shafiqul Islam Kajol, under the Digital Security Act. “I don’t find any reason to keep them in jail.”
"Journalists are your (PM's) friends as they present the truth to you and find out the truth. I would like to say no one can stay in power by indulging in repressive acts. You please release the journalists immediately and allow them to speak up and present the truth freely. This will pave the way for good governance in the country and ensure your benefits,” he observed.
Zafrullah said BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday demanded the release of the arrested journalists, but he did not assure that their party, if returns to power, will revoke the black law and ensure the freedom of press and people’s freedom of expression.
He called upon all to get united to restore the freedom of expression in the country.
Zafrullah urged the government to take steps for giving journalists a special incentive during the current corona crisis recognising their contributions to the nation.