Distinguished Professor Dr. Ali Riaz presented a paper November 6 at the seminar on “Democratic Backsliding and the COVID-19 Pandemic in South Asia.” The seminar was organized by Kyoto University, Japan, and was held via Zoom.

Riaz, in his paper “Criminalizing Freedom of Expression in a Hybrid Regime: Bangladesh’s Digital Security Act,” argued that the DSA, which came into effect in October 2018, has created a culture of fear in Bangladesh. He argued that through the overly broad and vague provisions and providing the government absolute power to initiate investigations into anyone whose activities are considered a “threat” by the government and providing the law enforcement agencies the power to arrest without a warrant, the DSA has criminalized the freedom of expression. The paper analyzed a dataset of 593 cases filed between January 2020 and June 2021.