FILE- In this May 3, 2016 file photo, Bangladeshi journalists cover proceedings outside a court in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Journalists and human rights groups are demanding major amendments to a new law passed in Bangladesh Parliament in September, 2018, saying the law will choke constitutional rights of freedom of speech and expression. (AP Photo/A.M. Ahad, File)

Journalists slam pending Bangladesh digital security law

September 28, 2018 - 1:45 am

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Journalists and human rights groups are demanding major amendments to a bill recently passed in Bangladesh's Parliament, saying it will further choke constitutionally protected freedom of speech.

A powerful body of editors of leading newspapers and TV stations has officially protested the bill, called the Digital Security Act, and plans to form a human chain to protest Saturday in front of the national press club in Dhaka.

Observers say the bill is part of a broader campaign to silence critics in Bangladesh and reflects a worrying tendency toward authoritarianism.

Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who political opponents decry as an autocrat, defended the bill in Parliament last week, saying that it was meant to protect the country from propaganda.

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