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Monday, October 08, 2018, 17:48
Bangladesh bill critics worry will stifle speech becomes law
By Associated Press
Monday, October 08, 2018, 17:48 By Associated Press

Bangladesh journalists hold a protest against a digital security law in the country’s capital, Dhaka, Sept 24, 2018. Bangladesh's parliament passed the contentious law despite protests by journalists and rights groups home and abroad. (MUNIR UZ ZAMAN / AFP)

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid has signed a bill into law that has been criticized as stifling freedom of speech.

Press secretary Joynal Abedin says Hamid signed the Digital Security Act on Monday.

Senior editors, journalist groups and human rights groups in and outside Bangladesh had protested the bill, saying it could be wielded arbitrarily against government critics.

But Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina defended it in Parliament, saying it was meant to protect the country from propaganda.

It replaces a previous information communication technology law under which many editors and reporters have been sued for defamation.

Observers say Bangladesh's new law reflects a worrying trend in fledgling Asian democracies.

Journalists in Nepal are combating a similar law that was passed in August.

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