BNP senior leader Moudud Ahmed on Saturday said their party will repeal the ‘Digital Security Act’ and approved the ‘Broadcast Bill’ within seven days, if it is voted to power, to ensure press freedom.
“These two laws have been enacted so that our newspapers and media can’t present news independently. Their (journalists’) hand and legs are tied and their voice gagged while the freedom of speech is snatched through the laws,” he said.
Speaking at a human chain programme, the BNP leader further said, “I would like to say these two laws will be revoked within seven days if we return to power.”
Jatiyatabadi Mohila Dal arranged the programme in front of the Jatiya Press Club demanding the withdrawal of ‘dictated’ verdicts against BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman in August-21 grenade attack cases.
On Monday, the cabinet approved in principle the draft Broadcast Bill 2018.Under the bill, if anyone broadcasts false or confusing information in a discussion programme or anything against the spirit and principles of the Liberation War or against the state policy, he or she will face a maximum jail term of three years or a fine of Tk 5 crore, or both.
Earlier on October 8, President Abdul Hamid signed the Digital Security Bill turning it into a law. Moudud, a BNP standing committee member, said the entire nation is now united under the banner of Jatiya Oikyafront as it was formed as per the desires of people of all walks of life.
He said the ruling party leaders’ unguarded comments against the Jatiya Oikyafront have demonstrated that BNP’s decision of forging the unity is right one.
“We’ll intensify our unity further and ensure our leader (Khaleda’s) release and force the government to hold the election under a neutral administration through it,” he said.
The BNP leader warned the government that it will not be allowed to hold another unilateral election like that the 2014 one.
He criticised the government for denying Oikyafront permission to hold its maiden rally in Sylhet on October 23. “A party (Jatiya Party) is holding a rally today (Saturday) with much enthusiasm without any obstruction. They allow all, except us, to hold rallies as it’s a fascist and autocratic regime. It fears people and doesn’t believe in the rule of law.”
Claiming that Tarique was convicted in August-21 cases ‘unlawfully’ out of political vengeance, Moudud said people do not accept such ‘dictated’ verdicts.
He said Tarique will appeal in the High Court against the verdicts once he returns home. “He’ll prove wrong the verdicts given against him. I believe he’ll be acquitted from the High Court through the appeal.”