Distinguished Professor Ali Riaz has been quoted by the German International broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) in a report on the Digital Security Act (DSA). The report, titled ‘How is Bangladesh’s Digital Security Act muzzling free speech?’, highlights the recent death of a writer in jail. Mustaq Ahmed was charged under the DSA, which international human rights groups have described as draconian.
Riaz told DW that provisions in the DSA pose a threat to fundamental rights enshrined in the Bangladeshi constitution and international standards of freedom of expression. “The law has not been made to protect the citizens, but rather to serve the interests of the ruling party and the government,” he said. “Since its introduction in October 2018, the law has contributed to the deepening of the culture of fear. It has been successful in sending a chilling message to citizens, heightening self-censorship among journalists and choking social media.”
Hundreds of people have been arrested under the law in the past year.