The government has decided to redraft the Digital Security Act (DSA), annulling some stringent provisions like jail terms on defamation charges, and renaming the law as Cyber Security Act (CSA), law minister Anisul Huq said on Monday.
“The cabinet approved in principle the draft of the new act. There will be no jail term for defamation in the Cyber Security Act, he told reporters at his office at Bangladesh Secretariat.
Huq said the convicts under the proposed CSA would require paying fines only instead of serving jail terms on defamation charges while he called the provision a “significant change”.
“Section 29 (of DSA) has been abolished. The only punishment would be fine, or to suffer jail term of three to six months in default. The maximum punishment in this regard would be an amount of fine of not more than Taka 25 lakh,” he said.
Huq said the proposed CSA suggested a two-year prison term instead five years prescribed in DSA’s section 28 which was related to publication, broadcast of information in website or in any electronic format hurting one’s religious values or sentiment.
He said persons to be accused under this particular section could avail bail from the court as well while the DSA made the charges non-bailable.
The minister added that the new law was expected to be passed in parliament with several other amendments to the existing DSA.
Earlier, cabinet secretary Md Mahbub Hossain confirmed the cabinet approval for redrafting the DSA.
“The draft of the new Cyber Security Act has been prepared amending several sections of Digital Security Act. The new act (however) incorporated many provisions of the DSA,” Hossain told a separate media briefing.
But, he said, the proposed law would debar the accused from getting bail on some specific charges under four different sections.
The cabinet secretary said the proposed law would again be tabled before the cabinet for final approval after exhausting vetting process at the law ministry.