VOICE is a rights-based, activist organization working mainly on the issues of food sovereignty, aid effectiveness, economic justice, and the right to information and communication, both in Bangladesh and on a global scale. By building a broader constituency of alternative voices to the ‘mainstream development discourse’ through research and public education, VOICE is taking a stand against unjust and undemocratic practices.

Capacity building workshop explores ways to strengthen freedom of expression online

By farjana - Posted on 23 January 2019

Capacity building workshop explores ways to strengthen freedom of expression online

How can ordinary citizens of Bangladesh safeguard their online freedom of expression in line with existing laws and regulations? What is the prevailing state of online gender based violence against women? Do prevailing legal frameworks of Bangladesh impede press freedom? These and many other practical concerns of today’s society were discussed at length on January 19, 2019 at Cumilla city of Bangladesh. The workshop was organized by VOICE with support from APC and SIDA. It was organized as part of VOICE’s ongoing research initiative which is taking an in-depth look into the aforementioned issues in view of strengthening free expression online.

Participants expressed their concern that increasing control over digital and online content and services like Facebook, YouTube and Internet connectivity speed might undermine democratic principles. A growing confusion over the provisions of the newly introduced laws was also reflected in the discussion. Journalists pointed out that a fear of unknowingly breaking laws makes it difficult to carry out their duties. Speakers also discussed the roles and responsibilities of citizens in achieving the vision of a digital Bangladesh. There was a unanimous agreement that the number of unreported cases of online gender based violence against women far outweigh the reported ones.

Freedom Online Dialogue: Conversations of Digital Rights, Security and Cyber Peace

By farjana - Posted on 13 December 2018


On 10 December 2018, Human Rights Day "Freedom Online Dialogue: Conversations of Digital Rights, Security and Cyber Peace" was held successfully at Bogura city with the participation of several stakeholders including deveopment professionals, young people and students, women activists, teachers, advocates, writers and CSOs among others. The dialogue emphasized on the exponentially increasing challenges of online free expression.

Issues like public data breaches by private companies i.e. Cambridge Analytica and other tech giants, the complicated, and often confusing nature of legal frameworks that govern online practices, lack of public awareness and skills to defend themselves from online threats, absense of consumer protection in online services and goods etc. were discussed in-depth.

Freedom Online Dialogue held today in Dhaka

By farjana - Posted on 08 December 2018


Speakers stressed to strengthen freedom of expression online facing the restrictions and challenges. They emphasized to uphold the spirit of democracy in online space and urged to the government to comply with the commitments it made to Constitution and follow the International laws and policies including Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Speakers and participants also expressed concern over prevailing and newly introduced laws and said some provisions of such laws might make practicing online free speech difficult for ordinary citizens and journalist.The event titled 'Freedom Online Dialogue' held today in Dhaka which is organised by VOICE in cooperation with APC and SIDA. The dialogue was attended by the CSOs, lawyers, academicians, students and youth activists, private institutes, rights groups, community-based organisations and social movement groups.

Supreme Court Advocate Ershadul Bari, BIID Cheif Executive SHahiuddin Akbar, Senior Lecturer of Law of BRAC University Saimum Rea Piash, Badrul Alam spoke in the panel among others, Johirul Musa presented the research findings while Voice's executive director Ahmed Swapan Mahmud discussed the objectives of the event strengthening and upholding freedom online expression and urged to maintain human rights standards without State's control and interference.

Capacity Building Workshop "Rights and Freedom Online: Challenges of Digital Space, Cyber Crime and Security"

By farjana - Posted on 25 November 2018

Capacity Building Workshop "Rights and Freedom Online: Challenges of Digital Space, Cyber Crime and Security"

A day-long capacity building workshop has been held on 23 November 2018 at the Greenpark restaurant auditorium at Mymensingh. Online activists, women and youth groups, journalists, teachers, IT professionals, NGOs and rights groups participated in the workshop titled ‘Rights and Freedom Online: Challenges of Digital Space, Cyber Crime and Security’ organized by VOICE in cooperation with Association for Progressive Association (APC) and Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). The workshop discussed the freedom of expression online, cybercrime and security combating threats of malware and securing the Net for peace and justice.

Aninda Mintu, Ahmed Swapan, Sajal Quraishy, Advocate Sibbir Liton, Selima Azad facilitated different sessions on the day while Swadheen Chowdhury facilitated the sessions and groups during the workshop. Participants demanded to expand the programmes and hold capacity building workshop further both in rural-urban areas considering disadvantaged communities including ethnic minorities, Dalits and youths, in particular.

Online freedom of expression must be upheld: Rights defenders

By farjana - Posted on 11 November 2018


Peace and security in the cyberspace are constantly being challenged while the scope of practicing free speech online is becoming more and more limited - participants said at a workshop in Dhaka today (November 10, 2018). Organized by Voices for Interactive Choice and Empowerment (VOICE) in cooperation with Association for Progressive Communications (APC), the capacity-building workshop was titled ‘Free and open internet: Cyber peace, security, rights, and regulations’.

Speakers and participants also expressed that certain clause of existing laws and regulations makes it difficult for journalists to do their duties. Youth leaders, women activists, bloggers, lawyers, journalists, and IT professionals discussed key challenges and civil society’s responsibility in the workshop.

Capacity Building Workshop " Free and Open Internet: Cyber Peace, Security, Rights and Regulations"

By farjana - Posted on 08 November 2018

A Capacity Building Workshop titled " Free and Open Internet: Cyber Peace, Security, Rights and Regulations"  to be held on Saturday, 10 November 2018 from 9.00 am - 5.00 pm., at YWCA, 3/23 Iqbal Road, Mohammapur Dhaka-1207 


A day-long consultation on ‘Development Effectiveness’ held in Dhaka

By farjana - Posted on 04 April 2018

Group Pic_Consultation.jpg

Speakers emphasized researching to assess development effectiveness as well as dissemination of information about development effectiveness and the role of CSOs for better development results. 

 A day-long consultation on ‘Development Effectiveness’ was held on 29 March 2018 in Dhaka organized by VOICE, an advocacy and research organization, in cooperation with CPDE, a global platform of civil society. The consultation was attended by representatives of CSOs, member of civil society, community workers, dalit leaders, academicians, writers who were presided over by Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, Executive Director, VOICE. Dr Md. Rezaul Basher Siddique, Deputy Secretary of Economic Relations Division of Finance Ministry, Serajud Dahar Khan, Amin Ur Rasul spoke at the consultation among others. Mahbub Khan Badhon, Lecturer, University of Dhaka;  Zeenath Sultana from BRAC, Prakash Chandra Roy from Nagorik Uddyog presented their country experiences sharing a presentation on success stories in implementing project activities. 

A consultation on `Development Effectiveness' to be held on 29 March 2018

By farjana - Posted on 28 March 2018

A consultation on `Development Effectiveness' to be held on 29 March from 9:30 am. to 4:30 pm. at YWCA auditorium, 3/23 Iqbal Road, Mohammadpur, Dhaka 1207.  

The objective of the consultation is to broadly discuss about the development projects and policies related to development effectiveness including Paris declaration, Accra Action Agenda, Istanbul principles, and the activism of Global Partnership for Development Cooperation (GPEDC) and CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) in order to find out the better way to advocating for enabling environment for development effectiveness.

Workshop on`CSOS Enabling Environment and CSOs Development Effectiveness’

By farjana - Posted on 28 March 2018

A workshop (two-days-long training ) on `CSOS Enabling Environment and CSOs Development Effectiveness’ held on 4-5 March 2018 at CBCB Training Centre (24/C Asad Avenue Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207, Phone- 9123108; 9127339).  

The workshop discussed the issues of CSOs development effectiveness and CSOs enabling environment, their policies and practices including the progress so far. The workshop intended to build a broader constituency while enhancing capacity and strengthening networking and advocacy through raising voices on development effectiveness issues.

Call to Observe International Privacy Day: Demand data protection law to secure personal information

By farjana - Posted on 28 January 2018

[VOICE, Dhaka, 28 January 2018] `VOICE’ an advocacy organization calls NGOs, civil society organizations and rights groups to observe Privacy Day (28 January) uphold the right to privacy and data protection.

We urge the government to ensure people’s right to privacy through building policy coherence and creating an independent privacy commission. “Privacy” itself is guaranteed under Article 39(2)(a) and Article 43 of the fundamental rights of the Bangladesh Constitution. Article 33(2)(a) entrenches “the right of every citizen to freedom of speech and expression” and Article 43 guarantees “the privacy of home and correspondence and communications”.

Privacy also guaranteed in Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A perception study on privacy rights conducted by VOICE, shows that 83% respondents feel uneasy to share very personal information (e.g. sexual desire) to others while 79% identified income as their 2nd most priority issue that they do not want to disclose and 75% people do not like to share information about their own resources.52% of respondents think that information would be unsafe and to used for other purposes.