14 years Jail for “Unwanted” Social Posts in Bangladesh

The much-debated Bangladesh Digital Security Bill (2018) was passed in the parliament last night with a harsh provision allowing police officials to search or arrest anyone without any warrant. Section 43 of the new law says if a police official believes that an offence under the law has been or is being committed at a certain place, or there is a possibility of committing crimes or destroying evidence, the official can search the place or any person involved.

“The digital security act will create insecurity for the citizens of the country.”

What is the New Digital Security Law of Bangladesh?

Section 3 of the new law includes a provision of the Right to Information Act 2009, which will be applicable in case of right to information-related matters. As per section 32 of the law, if a person commits any crime or assists anyone in committing crimes under Official Secrets Act, 1923, through computer, digital device, computer network, digital network or any other electronic medium, he or she may face a maximum 14 years in jail or a fine of Tk 25 lakh or both.

The law also includes a definition of the “Spirit of the Liberation War” in section 21, which says, “The high ideals of nationalism, socialism, democracy and secularism, which inspired our heroic people to dedicate themselves to, and our brave martyrs to sacrifice their lives in, the national liberation struggle.”

According to section 29 of the law, a person may face up to three years in jail or a fine of Tk 5 lakh or both if he or she commits the offences stipulated in section 499 of the Penal Code through a website or in electronic form.

Section 31 of the act says a person may face up to seven years in prison or Tk 5 lakh in fine or both if he or she is found to have deliberately published or broadcast something on a website or in electronic form which can spread hatred and create enmity among different groups and communities, and can cause deterioration in law and order.

YouTube Videos

Unfortunately a lot of new YouTuber’s are starting to visit and make vlogging videos on the country Bangladesh. Very few tourists would dare to visit this nation due to the Gulshan Carnage of July 2016 – where 19 foreigners were slaughtered by Extremists.

The YouTube channel video also falls under the New Digital Security Act of 2018 where the foreign vlogger’s may get jail time or be fined heavily if they are caught by the local authorities posting “unwanted” Bangladeshi videos on their channels.

Example of such “unwanted” video is given below where the thumbnail and video content suggests that Bangladesh is under water most of the time.

Ofcourse the YouTube vlogger shown above has already left the country but there is a possibility that he would be harassed by the local authorities (Police Force) of Bangladesh when he goes back to the country for another visit. The police force of Bangladesh is rigged with corruption and though the possibility of a foreign tourist ending up in jail is highly unlikely – he may face financial “extortion” by the local authorities just because he has a negative YouTube video about Bangladesh on his channel.

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