Distinguished Professor Dr. Ali Riaz has published an article on the Digital Security Act (DSA) of Bangladesh for a series on South Asian politics by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Riaz’s article is included in the Politics of Opposition in South Asia initiative run by Carnegie’s South Asia program. It draws on the database developed by Riaz through a project for the Centre for Governance Studies in Bangladesh. 

The article argues that the DSA has been used by the government of Bangladesh and the supporters of the ruling Bangladesh Awami League to silence critics. Overly broad and vague provisions in the DSA have granted the government enormous punitive power, Riaz insists. In the past three years, more than 1,500 cases have been filed under the DSA. The article analyzes 754 cases filed between January 1, 2020 and October 31, 2021 and concludes that wanton use of the law has created a culture of fear, leading journalists to self-censor to avoid retribution.