Senior BNP leader Moudud Ahmed yesterday said their party will repeal the "Digital Security Act" and the approved "Broadcast Bill" within seven days to ensure press freedom, if it is voted to power.
“These two laws have been enacted so that our newspapers and media can't present news independently. Their (journalists') hands and legs are tied and their voices gagged, while the freedom of speech is snatched through the laws,” he said while speaking at a human chain in the capital.
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 withdrawal of "dictated" verdicts against BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman in the August 21 grenade attack cases.
On Monday, the cabinet approved on 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 state policy, they 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 wish 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.
“We'll intensify our unity further and ensure our leader's [Khaleda Zia'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 of 2014.
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 [yesterday] with much enthusiasm without any obstruction. They allow everyone, 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 Rahman 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 to 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.”