Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Bangladesh 12 September 2003

New law would threaten online freedoms

"Respect for confidentiality of personal information obtained from Internet service providers (ISPs) or through e-mail messages must be an unshakeable principal of any democratic society," it said. "New information technology allows greater monitoring of personal messages and the Bangladesh government must respect the privacy of its citizens and their right to communicate freely."

The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has reportedly drafted amendments to the 2001 law at the request of the intelligence agencies and the law ministry which have cited reasons of national security and the need to fight terrorism.

The intelligence agencies want access to the subscribers’ database of ISPs and to use in court cases material gathered through currently-illegal interception of private e-mail. One academic told The Daily Star newspaper that such interception "could be used as a weapon to blackmail people."

The intelligence agencies also want to amend section 30 of the Telecommunications Act (concerning privacy) to read (addition in italics): "...to ensure protection of the privacy of telecommunications subject to the national security laws." This kind of general clause would allow intelligence officials disturbingly greater scope to intervene.

Some freedom of expression activists say they fear the amendments would turn the country into a "police state." The changes also seem to contradict the 2001 Act’s main purpose of setting up an independent commission (the BTRC) to regulate telecommunications. The way now seems open to transfer the BTRC’s powers back to the telecommunications ministry.

Akhteruzzaman Manju, president of the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA), warned in The Daily Star that the Act could only be amended with the permission of the International Telecommunications Union and after debate in parliament.




In this country
10 October - Bangladesh
Government challenged over torture of editor in Sylhet
19 September - Bangladesh
Cartoonist arrested over harmless play on name Mohammed
7 September - Bangladesh
Condemnation of closure of CBS News
29 August - Bangladeh
Government urged to lift censorship and guarantee journalists’ safety
12 May - Bangladesh
Authorities free journalist and human rights activist Tasneem Khalil

in the annual report
Bangladesh - Annual report 2008
Bangladesh - Annual report 2007
Bangladesh - Annual report 2006

reports
4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election
archives

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised