70pc women harassed online belong to 15-25 age group

26

Dhaka, September 24: Additional Deputy Commissioner of the Cyber ​​Security and Crime Division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Mishuk Chakma has said 70 percent of the women, reportedly harassed online in the city, are in the 15-25 age group.Most of these women are victims of sexual harassment, hacking, cyber-pornography and blackmailing.

Presenting the statistics, Mishuk Chakam said among the harassment allegations and cases that come to the country’s only cybercrime tribunal compiled, hacking is 20 percent, fake ID 20 percent, harassment/defamation 18 percent, cyber pornography 14 percent, financial fraud by mobile 14 percent, blackmail/extortion 7 percent, terrorist activity 1 percent and the other allegations 6 percent.

‘’The scenario is only of capital Dhaka. The situation outside Dhaka is almost the same. However, most victims of online harassment do not go to the police station,” Mishuk was quoted as saying at a meeting titled ‘Technology Mediated Violence Against Women in Bangladesh’, organised by ARTICLE 19 on Monday.

Women journalists, online activists, women human rights activists and cultural activists from various districts of the country participated in the event, said ARTICLE 19, an international organisation working on freedom of speech, on Tuesday.

The discussion was presided over by Faruq Faisel, Bangladesh and South Asia Regional Director, ARTICLE 19 while Supreme Court lawyer Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua  and Simum Reza Talukder, Senior Lecturer of Department of Law, Brac University were present as discussants.

Mentioning limitations in cybercrime investigations, Mishuk said the police station at the local level does not have adequate training on cyber issues.

At present, initiatives are being taken to provide training on how to conduct a primary investigation into allegations of online harassment at all levels of police.

“Seeking information from Facebook authorities to investigate particular allegations is not easily available. Besides, those who spread rumors and engage in crime online from outside the country are difficult to bring under the law,’’ he said.

It is not possible for the police alone to deal with cybercrime. This requires the collective efforts of the family, the private sector and the civil society, Mishuk opined.

He suggested participants to contact Facebook page ((https://www.facebook.com/cyberctdmp) of the Cyber ​​Security Department’s and help desk (01769691522) to report online harassment.

Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua advised the careful use of various technologies and apps in the interest of personal protection.

‘’Therefore, it’s important to distinguish between professional and personal life in online walks. Before legal protection, online users need to know the technical aspects of the technology well,” the lawyer opined.

Faruq Faisel, the Regional Director, ARTICLE 19 of Bangladesh and South Asia said, ‘’We need to move forward knowing applied and practical aspect of using technology rather being afraid of it. The empowerment of women is not possible without the use of technology. Women can protect themselves from negative issues such as bullying online through digital literacy or tech-education.’’

The daylong programme discussed raising awareness of women in using technology, shared experiences, identified barriers and reasons of fear to seek legal remedy to prevent online harassment, encouraged participants to take legal action and communicate easily with partner organizations to prevent online harassment.