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.


WTO must end its business

By farjana - Posted on 04 December 2013

WTO must end its business

Farjana Akter, VOICE

Since its inception of the World Trade Organizations (WTO) in 1995, policies made by the multilateral giant blocked the access of developing countries to international markets. WTO, the promoter of `globalization' introduces injustice and undermines human rights through it's biased policies and regulations. In the ninth ministerial conference taking place in Bali from 3 -6 December 2013, WTO should give back Least Developed Countries (LDCs) rights and listen to their legal demands. LDCs has been struggling to get Quota-Free and Duty Free market access to intrenational markets, subsidy in agriculture since long.

 The empty promise of Agreement of Agriculture (AoA) needs to be readdressed, meanwhile, it has worsened the conditions of the millions subsistence farmers and small-scale food producers in the developing countries, while giving scope to corporations to accumulate more profit.

 The institution needs to uncover the discriminatory rules and regulations for developing countries with a strong reform within it. Developing countries are demanding for ensuring simple and transparent rules of origin for duty-free market access, it asks for preferential market access for their services sector.

Punishment to attackers on journos demanded

By farjana - Posted on 24 November 2013

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Different organisations formed a human chain in front of National Press Club in the city on Saturday with a call to end impunity.

They also demanded punishment of those responsible for attacking and killing journalists across the country.

Rights group VOICE, Media Watch, BMSF and International Press Institute (IPI) organised the event in observance of the International Day to End Impunity.

Journalists, human rights activists and members of the civil society participated in the programme.

The speakers urged the government to ensure justice for the journalists who were killed during professional duties.

They also demanded exemplary punishment of the killers of Sagar Sarwar, news editor at private TV station Maasranga, and his wife Meherun Runi, a senior reporter at ATN Bangla.

A total of 700 journalists were killed in last decade while 93 journalists and bloggers were killed alone till November in 2013 globally.

Executive Director of VOICE Ahmed Swapan Mahmud moderated the programme.

Among others, President of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, President of Dhaka Union of Journalists Omar Faruk, General Secretary Jahangir Alam Pradhan, President of a faction of BFUJ Ruhul Amin Gazi, and Treasurer Khairuzzaman Kamal spoke.

PRESS RELEASE:Human Chain held to mark International Day to End Impunity

By farjana - Posted on 24 November 2013

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[Dhaka, 23 Novemebr 2013] Rights group VOICE, Media Watch and International Press Institute (IPI) jointly organized a human chain in front of National Press Club in Dhaka today to mark the International Day to End Impunity. Speakers called to end Impunity and demanded to stop violence against journalists, bloggers, writers while urged to attain justice within the judicial system. In observance of International Day to End Impunity, journalists, human rights defenders and members of the civil society attended the human chain.

Observation of International Day to End Impunity

By farjana - Posted on 22 November 2013

Call to End Impunity

VOICE, Media Watch and International Press Institute (IPI) are jointly organizing a human chain in front of National Press Club in Dhaka calling to end Impunity and demanding to stop violations against journalists and to attain justice within the judicial system. Human chain will be held on 23rd November 2013 during the observance of International Day to End Impunity. Journalists, writers, human rights defenders and members of the civil society will attend the human chain.

Liberty at risk: Amending ICT law

By farjana - Posted on 25 September 2013

The aspirations of free peoples are seldom harmful to liberty, because they result either from oppression or from fear that there is going to be oppression.”

– Niccolo Machiavelli, Discourses I.4

cyberON September 20, 2013 the treasury bench placed a bill in parliament purporting to further amend the current law of the land on information and communication technology, namely ‘Information and Communication Technology Act, 2006.’ Not withstanding a good deal of protestations, this in all likelihood is going to be made law. Interestingly, however, this comes close on the heels of an ordinance amending the Information and Communication Technology Act, 2006 Act promulgated by the President of the Republic on August 20, 2013. The unease is legible in your face.

 

ICT law under fire: Journalists, rights activists urge parliamentarians not to back it in the House

By farjana - Posted on 23 September 2013

Journalists and rights activists yesterday urged parliamentarians not to approve the recent amendment proposal to the ICT law, which they said could easily be misused.

Law enforcers will be able to arrest any person without any warrant for publishing any material in electronic form that causes deterioration of law and order, harm the image of the state or person or hurt religious belief, according to the ICT (Amendment) Act 2013.

The offender of the non-bailable crime will be punished for a maximum of 14 years in jail and seven years at the minimum, as per the law.

To read more :

http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/ict-law-under-fire/

More news links in English covered by the print media :

http://www.theindependentbd.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=186976:ict-act-will-affect-right-to-privacy-freedom-of-expression-speaker...

http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/index.php?ref=MjBfMDlfMjNfMTNfMV8yXzE4NDQyOA==

http://www.daily-sun.com/details_Govt-urged-not-to-amend-ICT-Act_624_1_10_1_14.html

ICT Act Amendment 2013 will affect right to privacy and freedom of expression

By farjana - Posted on 22 September 2013

[Dhaka, 22 September 2013] Speakers told that the ICT Act (amendment) 2013 sharply conflicts with Bangladesh Constitution’s Article 39 and 43 which guarantee freedom of expression and right to privacy respectively. Terming it as a ‘black law’, speakers urged the government not to enact as a law. A press conference titled ‘ICT Act (Amendment) 2013: Challenges for Right to Privacy and Freedom of Expression’ was held by VOICE in the city’s national press club today while it was jointly collaborated with Bangladesh Manobadhikar Shangbadik forum, Campaign on Citizen’s Right to Information, Bangladesh ICT Journalist Forum, Somewherein.net Blog, Online Knowledge Society, Shushashoner Jonyo Procharabhijan (SUPRO) and School of Communication and Cultural Metaphysics. 

Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, CEO, Boishaki Television, Khairuzzaman Kamal, Executive Director, Bangladesh Manobadhikar Shangbadik Forum, Zakir Hossain, Executive Director of Nagorik Uddog and Convener of Campaign on Citizen Right to Information, Syeda Gulshan Ferdous Jana, Acting Managing Director, Somewherein.net Blog and, Farjana Akhter, Programme Coordinator, Voice spoke at the press briefing while Ahmed Swapan Mahmud, Executive Director of Voice moderated the session.

A press briefing on ‘ICT Act (Amendment) 2013: Challenges for Privacy and Human Rights’ to be held on 22 September 2013

By farjana - Posted on 19 September 2013

This is to inform you that VOICE, in collaboration with Bangladesh Manobadhikar Sangbadik Forum, Bangladesh ICT Journalist Forum, Campaign on Citizen Right to Information, Equity and Justice Working Group, Somewherein.net, Online Knowledge Society, Sushashoner Jonno Procharavijan (SUPRO), School of Communications and Cultural Metaphysics are pleased to invite you in a press briefing on  ‘ICT Act (Amendment) 2013: Challenges for Privacy and Human Rights’ to be held on Sunday, 22 September 2013 from  10:30 am. to 12:00 pm. at the Conference Room, National Press Club, Dhaka.  

The objective of the press briefing is to address the recent Information and Communication Technology (Amendment) Act 2013, which poses serious threats to the enjoyment of the right to privacy, freedom expression and  human rights.

Eminent journalist Monjurul Ahsan Bulbul, President of ISP Association of Bangladesh Aktaruzzaman Manju, Journalist and editor of Shaptahik Golam Mortoza among others will be in the panel. Representatives of CSOs, NGOs, human rights defenders among others will be attended at the briefing.

Draft ICT (Amendment) Ordinance-2013: A black law further blackened

By farjana - Posted on 22 August 2013

ALREADY a repressive law, the existing ICT Act-2006 is being further blackened by the government through approving the proposed draft of its amendment styled ICT (Amendment) Ordinance-2013. Worse still, the proposed draft Act has made non-cognisable offences in the existing law cognisable, abolished the provision of bail and increased the extent of punishment to 14 years in prison.

On the flipside, it also provides the police with unrestricted power to arrest any person suspected of breaking the law without issuing warrant. It will constrict freedom of thought and thereby democracy.

In line with our consistent position against vesting arbitrary power in the law-enforcers’ hand, we express our strong reservation against the proposed amendment to the ICT Act.