A Discussion Meeting on Reality and Actions to Prevent Cyber Violence towards Women and Girls

On December 2, 2023 (Saturday) at 11.00 am, as part of the program undertaken on the occasion World Human Rights Day, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) organized a discussion meeting with young generation at ATM Shamsul Haque Auditorium, CIRDAP, Dhaka on “Cyber Violence towards Women and Girls: Reality and Action”.

The president of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, Dr. Fauzia Moslem chaired the meeting. Joint General Secretary, Shima Moslem delivered the welcome speech. The professor of Mass Communication and Journalism Department of Dhaka University, Dr. Kaberi Gayen presented the keynote paper.
In the discussion meeting, above 150 members were present including the Vice President of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, Rekha Chaudhury, General Secretary, Maleka Banu, and other leaders, editors, organization officials, representatives of member organizations of Cyber Support for Women and Children Platform, teachers and students of various universities, and journalists of print and electronic media.

Nova Ahmed, professor of North South University, Sadat Rahman, and Aditi Saudagar of Cyber Teens participated in the open discussion.

Acting Information Technology Secretary of BMP, Dil Afroz Begum moderated the program.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s Honorable Chairman (Senior Secretary), Shyam Sundar Shikdar was present as chief guest; Cyber Tribunal, Judge of Dhaka (District and Session Judge), A.M. Zulfikar Hayat, and Deputy Inspector General of Special Branch of Bangladesh Police (Protection and Protocol), Amena Begum, BPM were present as special guests. Syeda Kamrun Jahan Ripa, President of Bangladesh Youth Internet Governance Forum and Assistant Manager of Summit Communications Limited; President of Bangladesh ICT Journalist Forum Naznin Nahar; President of Cyber-crime Awareness Foundation, Kazi Mustafiz and Boxer of Bangladesh Boxing Federation, Tamanna Haque, founder of Nisongkoch Foundation, Mohammad Fahim, and Team Manager of Shishu Kishore Cricket Women’s Academy, Lamia Jalal were present as discussants.

While presenting the keynote paper, Professor of Mass Communication and Journalism Department of Dhaka University, Kaberi Gayen said harassment, cyberbullying, cyberstalking, cyber pornography, cyber slander, morphing, email spoofing, and various forms of cyber violence are happening through e-mail. The main factors that work in Bangladesh for cybercrime are accessibility of personal information of victims, ignorance and indifference of users, victim’s liability, use of one’s personal information under another profile, and gaps in legal action with technology development. However, women did not get the desired results by filing complaints against these crimes. In this case, there are two ways to solve it. The first is the emphasis on the legal system. The second is to change the social psychology.
In the speech of the chief guest, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s Honorable Chairman (Senior Secretary), Shyam Sundar Shikdar said, the Government has many types of activities to prevent cyber violence. Parents should monitor their children’s Internet usage, they have to give opportunities for intellectual development by encouraging them to use the Internet positively. Government and private organizations and media are working from their respective places to control cybercrime. He urged everyone to work together.

Cyber Tribunal, Judge of Dhaka (District and Session Judge), A.M Zulfikar Hayat said in the speech as special guest that before using different apps, a clear idea must be taken; parents should refrain from giving mobile phones to children before a certain age; He emphasized on banning usage of multiple SIM cards, bringing social media under the law and making legal policies to control tiktok, imo to prevent cyber violence against women and girls.
Deputy Inspector General of the Special Branch of Bangladesh Police (Protection and Protocol), Amena Begum, BPM said the manpower of the cyber support team should be increased to prevent cyber violence; awareness must be created from childhood; Everyone should be aware of safe usage of the internet. He commented that it will be possible to deal with cybercrime with the combined efforts of the government, private sector, and youth.
Other speakers said that 63% of children are exposed to pornography while in school. Schools need to be aware of internet usage. Parental guidelines should be in place to monitor children’s Internet usage. Emphasis should be placed on the utilization of BTRC policies, para-social activities and investments. Cybercrime cannot be controlled only by law. Emphasis should be given to ensuring the punishment of criminals.
In the president’s speech, Dr. Fauzia Moslem said, new forms of violence are being added and now cyber violence is on the rise. Everyone’s actions should reflect the commitment to prevent cyber violence which has been made by today’s discussion. She also said that Bangladesh will be at risk in the cyber world if the area of transparency and accountability is not strong enough. She urged everyone to work together from their respective places to prevent cyber violence.
In the welcome speech, Shima Moslem said: that the positive application of the digital medium is not ensured because of creating various slanders through fatwas in the digital world. On the other hand, proper enforcement and monitoring of the Cyber Security Act is necessary to prevent misuse of it. She also emphasized the investment in preventing cyber violence against women and girls.

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