President Abdul Hamid officially signed into law the controversial Digital Security Act 2018 on Monday, October 8. Protests by media representatives and the political opposition are possible in the coming days and weeks; a gathering initially scheduled for September 29 in the capital Dhaka had been postponed to give negotiations with the government a chance. As these have failed and activists' grievances have not been addressed, journalists and rights groups are liable to stage demonstrations.
The Digital Security Act was passed by parliament on September 19. Journalists and rights groups claim that the law could be used to limit freedom of speech and responsible journalism. Under the law, individuals can face seven to 14 years in prison and fines for illegally accessing or destroying importation information related to state affairs. Critics also claim that a section of the law allows the police to search, seize, and arrest anyone without a warrant.
Individuals in Bangladesh are advised to avoid all protests as a precaution and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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