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It is Time for a Safe Cyberspace: Let’s Talk Comes to Jashore University of Science and Technology

Centre for Research and Information’s youth platform Young Bangla successfully organized its policy discussion platform Let’s Talk at Jashore University of Science and Technology on 11th December 2022.

At this interdisciplinary session, around 300 participants joined the discussion on the topic ‘Digital Behaviour in Cyberspace’. The session was conducted through students’ participation in an interactive question-and-answer session with the panelist. The panelists consisted of Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, State Minister of Information, Communication and Technology Division, Rumana Ali, MP, Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Finance & Ministry of Home Affairs, Dr. Md. Mamun-Or-Rashid, Professor, Computer Science, and Engineering, University of Dhaka, and Faez Belal, Joy Bangla Youth Awardee & Executive Director, BYS.

The Panelists at Let’s Talk Digital Behaviour in Cyberspace

Prof. Dr. Md. Anwar Hossain, Vice Chancellor of Jashore University of Science and Technology inaugurated the Let’s Talk with a welcome speech. Sumaiya Iqbal moderated the session afterward.

The panelists answered the questions the enthusiastic students and young minds of the Jessore division raised and heard their ideas and opinions on Digital Behaviour in Cyberspace. The participants and panelists discussed different topics on cyber security, digital literacy, misinformation, Digital Security Act, and global responsibility throughout the session.

The Young Audience Communicating with the Panelists

On the topic of ‘Digital Behavior’ and ‘Digital Literacy’, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, State Minister of the ICT division, focused on 4 points to ensure safe cyberspace: 1) Awareness in individual, family, and institutional levels; 2) Strong Implementation of Digital Security Agencies; 3) International Collaboration, and 4) Updated Security System.

Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP mentioned that people needing any advice and information related to cyber security, can call 333 with an extension 8 and get direct government assistance for their queries. Besides, to increase digital literacy, the online platform ‘Digital Literacy Center’ provides various content and blogs to the aware public.

The State Minister of the ICT Division emphasized on the importance of ICT development and digital literacy. He said, “The honorable Adviser to Prime Minister of Bangladesh on Information and Communication Technology, Sajeeb Wazed has guided us in Digital Literacy, Responsible Social Media Management and the 4 elements of the 4th Industrial Revolution are: Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Micro Chip design, and Cyber Security because we do not want to hire any outsider to secure our cyberspace and make digital technology innovations. We want to create human resources and ensure cyber security by ourselves.” 

Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP, State Minister of Information, Communication and Technology Division Adding Insights

The state minister also commented on the Digital Security Act and its functionality and importance in the surveillance of cybercrime. He said, “Digital Security Act does not restrict the freedom of speech. However, you must be careful about what freedom of speech stands for. It does not mean you have the right to make a hateful comment against women or your country. Digital Security Act is here to protect the people from this kind of cyber crimes.”

The participants also drew attention to the booming industry of E-Commerce and F-Commerce and raised concerns about the safety of such businesses. The State Minister answered that the government had taken several initiatives such as Digital Business ID Registration System, Complain Management Software, Interoperable Digital Transaction Platform, Logistics Tracking Software System, etc. to strengthen and protect the online business world, making it easier for the owners and customers.

Young Participant Sharing Views

The topic of rumors and fake news also came up, and the minister answered it. Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP said, “We need to stop calling fake news fake news. Because it is not fake news, it is misinformation that misleads any receiver. We need to verify any news before we believe it.”

The subject matter expert, Dr. Md. Mamun-Or-Rashid, professor of the CSE Department, University of Dhaka added on this topic and said, “Rumors arise where there is a lack of trust. First, we need to establish a reliable place, such as fact check websites. Second, if we want to command the computer to detect Bangla fake news, we must start researching in the Bengali language more.” He also mentioned checking a few things to verify misinformation: check the headline, the news link, the image, and the source.

Dr. Md. Mamun-Or-Rashid, Professor, Computer Science, and Engineering, University of Dhaka Answering Questions

Rumana Ali MP drew out the governmental initiatives to fight against cyber crimes and protect the victims, such as Cyber Police Center, Bangladesh E-Governance, Counter Terrorism, Hotline 999 and 109. Rumana says, “We should always be positive and practice positive thinking. If we can start this practice, we can train our mind not to put a hate comment or start cyberbullying in the first place.”

Rumana Ali, MP, Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Finance & Ministry of Home Affairs Sharing Her Opinion

The youth representative Faez Belal shared his views on global responsibility and said, “We are a part of global citizenship and thus global responsibility also implies on us. We must be more careful about how our online activities represent Bangladesh as a whole.”

Faez Belal, Joy Bangla Youth Awardee & Executive Director, BYS Sharing His Thoughts

The participants were found enjoying and benefiting from such informative and interactive discussions on ‘Digital Behavior in Cyberspace’ with the leader and policymakers of Bangladesh.