Digital Security Act and Investigative Journalism in Bangladesh: A Critical Analysis

Abstract views: 3131 / PDF downloads: 1260


  • Md. Aliur Rahman Dr., Assistant Professor and Chairperson, Department of Journalism and Media Communication, Green University of Bangladesh; Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • Harun-Or Rashid Senior Sub-Editor (Deputy Head of Dept.), Daily Prothom Alo, Dhaka, Bangladesh; Email:



Investigative Journalism, Digital Security, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Speech, Cyber Security, Cyber Crime, Cyber Terrorism.


The Digital Security Act 2018 has created some barriers for citizens' accessing information and freedom of expression, particularly for the media professionals including journalists in Bangladesh. Thus, investigative journalism is now in a state of fear for distinction. In this context, the purpose of the study is to explore various effects of this Act, as well as to focus on different directions of protection while facing fears associated with the law. Showing the necessities for investigative journalism, this article also presented different fields of such an effective journalism. Methodologically, this article has followed the qualitative approach and collected information from both the primary and secondary sources. The findings from this study have shown that the fear of negative impacts form the Digital Security Act is dominant although the aim of the law, as described, is to provide security for information and communication. From the analysis of opinions of experts, it is easily predictable that some articles of the law have created dangerous threats on the way of investigative journalism, considering its applicable effects. Most of the experts expressed concerns about the negative impacts the law does have, as shown in the findings.  It is also reflected that these harmful effects would fall ultimately on the shoulder of the state creating such a bad situation where the government is feared to have lagged in terms of taking the right decisions at the right time.


Bangla, BBC. (29 January 2018). Bangladesher notun Digital Nirapotta Ain 57 Dharar Bitorkito ICT Ain Theke kotota Alada?. Retrieved Ryb 18, 2018, from

Bangla, BBC. (2018). What are the contents inside the proposed Digital Security Act? London, BBC Bangla: Retrieved Ryb 18, 2018, from

Begum, K. (2015). Bangladesh: Reflections on the Right to Information Act,2009. Dhaka: Information Commission, Bangladesh.

Chepesiuk, R., et al. (1997). Raising Hell: Straight Talk from Investigative Journalists. McFarland, North Carolina.

De Burgh, H. (27 May 2008). Investigative Journalism. Routledge, London

Deuze, M. (2005), What is journalism? Professional identity and ideology of journalists reconsidered. Journalism, 6(4), 442-464.

Digital Security Act 2018 (08 October, 2018), Legislative and Parliamentary Affiars Division,, Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, Retrived 13 July, 2020 from

Dhaka Tribune, Daily. (13 October 2018). Editors' Council: Digital Security Act a crisis for journalism, Daily Tribune. Retrieved July 13, 2020, from

Ferdous , R; Rahaman, A. (February, 2008)Tothaya Odhikarer Shwarup Sondhane, Dhaka: Masline Media Centre

Haque, A. (30 January,2018).32 is bigger than the 57.Dhaka: Daily Kaler Kantha. Retrieved June 13, 2018, from

Information and Communication Technology (Amendment) Act 2013 (09 October, 2013), Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC), Government of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, Retrived 13 July, 2020 from

Iftekharuzzaman. (02 February 2018).`Digtal’ Ain Antorjatik Conventioner Sathe Shanghorshik: TIB, Dhaka: Daily Inqilab: Retrieved July 13, 2020

Islam, S. (30 January 2018). Digital Nirapotta Ainer kon Dharai ki Shanshti, Dhaka: Bangla Tribune. Retrieved Ryb 07, 2018, from‡bi- †Kvb-avivq-Kx-kvw¯Í

Ittefaq, Daily. (29 January 2018). Digital Nirapotta Aine jachhe 57 Dharar bishoybostu. Retrieved Ryb 18, 2018, from

Kalerkantha, Daily. (02 May 2018). `Digital Security Act against the freedom of expression'. Dhaka, Daily Kalerkantho: Retrieved June 18, 2018, from

Mannan, K. A. (1994), Bangladeshe Anushondhanmulok Reporting: Ekti Shomikkha, Nirikkha, Dhaka, PIB.

Malik, S (30 September 2018), Free speech will cease to exist, The Daily Star, Retrieved, July 13, 2020, from

Mannan, M. (11 February 2018), Digital Nirapotta Aine Shadhin Shangbadikotar Porishor Shonkuchito Hobe (The room of independent journalism will be squized by the Digital Security Act): Dhaka: Daily Inqilab: Retrieved June 13, 2018, fromËv-AvB‡b-¯^vaxb-mvsevw`KZvi cwimi msKzwPZ n‡e

Opinion, Editorial. (31 January 2018), The Digital Security Act is unable to remove the curse of Section 57, Dhaka: Daily Prothom AloËv-AvBb

Opinion, Editorial. (08 February 2018). There is no alternative to taking the partners into confidence, The Digital Security Act, Dhaka: Daily Prothom Alo wWwRUvj-wbivcËv-AvBb

Rahman, M. (30 September 2018), Experts call for review of Digital Security Act, Dhaka Tribune, Retrived, July 13, 2020, from

Rahman, A. (April 2019). Investigative Journalism, achievement of RTI Act sacrificed by Digital Security Act, AGRAYAN (April 2019), A communication Journal of Society, Culture and State, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

Rahman, A. (2018). Investigative Journalism in Bangladesh: An investigation based on observation, Dhaka.

Rahman, G. (2016). Right to Information: some research, Dhaka: Information Commission.

Salam, S. A. (3 May 2018). Bangladeshi Media and Digital Security Act: Fears and ways to recover. (P. 1-12). Dhaka: Dhaka Universit Journalism Alumni Association.

Schneier, B. (2011). Secrets and lies: digital security in a networked world. John Wiley & Sons, New Jersey.

The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Retrieved 10 June 2020 from

Personal Interviews:

Ferdous, Robaet, Professor, Dept. of Mass Communication and Journalism, University of Dhaka (10 June, 2018).

Hossain, Mokammel, Assistant Editor, Daily Jugantor, Dhaka (10 April, 2020)

Zaman, Mir Mashrur, Senior News Editor, Channel I, Dhaka (01 June, 2018).

Siddiqui, Arshad, Online Editor, Daily Shamprotik Deshkal, Dhaka (02 May, 2020)

Hosain, Altaf, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Al-Fiqh and Legal Studies, Islamic University, Bangladesh (07 April, 2020).




How to Cite

Rahman, M. A., & Rashid, H.-O. (2020). Digital Security Act and Investigative Journalism in Bangladesh: A Critical Analysis. CenRaPS Journal of Social Sciences, 2(2), 216–236.