Hasina explains why Bangladesh needs Digital Security Act

Defending the Digital Security Act, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said that the law is necessary to protect everyone in the digital space. 

Hasina responded to a journalist’s query on the criticism of the law at a press conference on Saturday amid protests over the death of writer Mushtaq Ahmed in jail after his arrest under the same law.

The prime minister held the press conference to speak about Bangladesh receiving the United Nations’ final recommendation for graduation from a least developed country to a developing one.

“We’ve built a Digital Bangladesh, and now it is our duty to provide the people with digital security,” she said.

“It’s our duty to prevent the youth from taking a wrong path or getting involved in militancy and terrorism; we must make sure that they do not do anything harmful to the country and the people.”

“This is why digital security is absolutely necessary.”

Hasina slated the critics of the law saying that they do not realise the actual situation.

The prime minister said she first joined street protests in 1962. “I am now 75 years old. So, I know everyone in this country.”

Without naming Mushtaq, the prime minister said, “We do not expect anyone to die, but creating unrest centring that issue is also unacceptable.”

Referring to the killings of four national leaders in jail on Nov 3, 1975, Hasina said, “Nothing like that has happened now.” 

“Many have links with those killers. But no one’s death is expected. What can we do if someone dies after falling ill?”

Another journalist asked for her comments on the allegations of the abuses of the Digital Security Act.

Hasina said the law will follow its own course and its abuse is a relative issue. “It may seem to be an abuse to some, while others may not consider it so. If someone doesn’t commit a crime, they will not be punished in trial.”

She declined to speak on the issue further saying it was a “good day” for Bangladesh as it received the final clearance for official graduation to a developing nation by 2026.

AL JAZEERA

Replying to another journalist’s query on the Al Jazeera report titled “All the Prime Minister’s Men”, Hasina said she had nothing to say about it.

“It is for the people to judge what a channel says. They will judge how much false and imaginary the report is,” she said.

She indicated that the families of the people sentenced for 1971 war crimes, the 2004 grenade attack, 10-truck arms haul and the 1975 killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman were behind the Al Jazeera report.

“Would their families sit idle? They must have some influence. Some bizarre interactions always happen in Bangladesh’s politics when the line between the ultra-left and the ultra-right blurs,” she said. 

“How will the people -- who did not want Bangladesh to be independent, who killed the Father of the Nation, who carried out the grenade attack, who tried to kill me, who turned the country into a den of arms and drug smugglers and the corrupt -- accept Bangladesh’s progress? They are trying to smear the country’s image,” Hasina said.  

“We pay attention to what we are doing for the people, not to what some channel says. Let them say what they want – it’s their job.”