Section 57 of the ICT Act and Freedom of Expression in Bangladesh

Name: Aklima Ferdows Lisa

Organisation: Center for Social Activism (CSA)

Country: Bangladesh

Stakeholder Group: Civil Society Organisation

Thematic Area: Freedom of Expression

Session Title: Section 57 of the ICT Act and Freedom of Expression in Bangladesh

Session Format: Panel Discussion

Speakers Name: Sultana Kamal, Chairperson of CSA- presentation of the research Barrister Jotirmoy Barua, Supreme Court Lawyer of Bangladesh- Use/misuse of the law and the trial procedure, Gayatri Khandhadai, APC- reflection on the international standards, Someone who has been charged under section 57 will also highlight her/his ordeal during the discussion.

Speaker Status: Some confirmed, while awaiting confirmation from others

Relevance of the issue with specified session theme: Activists have time and again expressed concerns about the broad and vague definitions in Section 57, giving scope for misuse and endangering freedom of speech and expression. The government has also assured several times that the section will be repealed. However, it is been reported that, while Section 57 will be removed from the ICT Act, it will be incorporated in the new Digital Security Act, which will be enacted soon.

Content of the session (Objective of the session): CSA has undertaken an initiative to document in detail the cases filed under section 57 of the ICT Act in 2017 with the aim to understand and analyze if the use of section 57 at all helped to end cybercrime and hate speeches or just been used to harass dissenting voice and curb freedom of expression of the people of Bangladesh. This will be completed by July 2017 and the finding will be used in tailoring specific campaign so that pressure can be created on the Government of Bangladesh to ensure that the new Digital Security Act does not bring back similar repressive provision.

 

Please describe how you will use your speakers and how their views/ perspectives /expertise will be included in the session:

  • Sultana Kamal, Chairperson of CSA- presentation of the research
  • Barrister Jotirmoy Barua, Supreme Court Lawyer of Bangladesh- Use/misuse of the law and the trial procedure
  • Gayatri Khandhadai, APC- reflection on the international standards
  • Someone who has been charged under section 57 will also highlight her/his ordeal during the discussion.

How are you bringing diversity in your proposed session whether it is relevant to the specified theme? Speakers have been chosen in a way to ensure gender and religious diversity. Diversity also remains in their expertise

Relevant Tags (Minimum 3 tags) Freedom of Expression, Bangladesh, CSA