Digital Security Act: Can the RTI and OSA co-exist at the same time?

The passing of the Digital Security Act 2018 became the talk of the town last week. With a straightforward approach to curb cybercrimes, attack on religious sentiments or spreading propaganda, this coming of age law sparked controversy among journalists of the country. The bill expresses zero tolerance against persons spreading hate speech and propaganda online that may tarnish the image of the nation.

Amongst other approved amendments, the bill incorporates the objectives of the Right to Information Act 2009 and The Official Secrets Act 1923. The changes brought to the bill create confusion regarding whether the RTI and OSA can co-exist in the same frame.

Section 3 of the Digital Security Act 2018 states, it is supplementary to existing laws. It made an inclusion of the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI) through this section. This is positive since the RTI ensures free flow of information. The RTI is an example how the Government prioritized the freedom of thought and expression mentioned in the Constitution. It was enacted with the aim to maintain accountability and transparency in all public, autonomous and statutory organizations. But the aims of the law contradict legislations left by the colonial regime. One of them is the Official Secrets Act 1923.

This draconian law was introduced by the British rulers under a total different political circumstance, namely to protect its rule over India. It attends to primarily cases of espionage, for example, making sketches, plans or models and circulating it to the enemy, directly or indirectly that might hamper the sovereignty of the country. This culture of secrecy is still rampant among bureaucrats of the sub continent. Human Rights activists and pressure groups in Bangladesh even called to scrap this black law while the RTI was being enacted.[1]

However, The RTI’s “right of the citizen to know” overlaps with OSA’s “right to secrecy”.

Surprisingly, the Digital Security Act hosts an unsettling rendezvous of both the laws in conflict. An amendment of Section 32 of its Bill suggests that a person will face the punishment if he or she commits a crime mentioned in the Official Secrets Act of 1923 through computer, digital device, computer network, digital network or any other digital media or help someone else commit such crime. Under Section 32, any act of entering illegally into a government, semi-government or autonomous organization and secretly recording information and data through any electronic device will be considered as ‘spying’ and carries a maximum sentence of 14 years or Tk 2.5 million in fines, or both. The amendment was approved by a voice vote and the OSA was reincarnated. But the question still remains, isn’t the new Act creating a contradiction within itself?

The Digital Security Act 2018 has undergone numerous amendments and propositions with a view to tackle one of the major problems of the 21st Century, cybercrime. But along with this change, it leaves certain areas vague which are prone to be misused. However one cannot completely disregard the possibility of espionage through online publication. The Act tried to shed light on this activity but with an old fashioned torch. While it is praiseworthy to incorporate the RTI, it is equally surprising to give OSA such unwanted attention. The existence of OSA 1923 in such an updated Act of 2018 is deemed misfit.

The Digital Security Act itself can function solely on its own provisions regarding the offences. There is right to information but one should not take this right for granted. It is on the journalists and media to be careful about the information they handle. Online activists, bloggers and even casual users must be aware of what they publish. Lastly, the culture of secrecy among policy makers must be sidelined by the free flow of information on demand, especially in an era when citizen journalism is on the rise.

 

 

[1] The Daily Star, ‘Call to scrap Official Secrets Act’, published 20th March 2008, available on https://www.thedailystar.net/news-detail-28641

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Can enforcing laws on breastfeeding curb malnutrition in Bangladesh?

Malnutrition can affect people of all ages but has a heavy impact on infants. Insufficient intake of food due to several factors results in malnutrition. It is a population hazard that is common in third world countries around the globe. Despite having considerable development over the years, maternal and infant nutrition remains a persistent concern for Bangladesh. It has been observed that 36% of the preschool age children are underweight and suffer from high rates of micro nutrient deficiencies. Even though many policies have been undertaken and legal frameworks established, traditional postpartum practices are decreasing.

A child needs to be breastfed right after birth as it supplies necessary nutrients. There is an undeniable connection between the mother’s health and the child’s nutrition. Surprisingly even when it’s a traditional practice in a country like Bangladesh, the rates suggest otherwise. According to Hoque M. (2017), only 36% (35% Rural vs. 39% Urban) could initiate breastfeeding within the first hour after birth (BBS, UNICEF, 2016). Almost 2/3rd of the children in the age group below 6 months are exposed to non-breast milk items (BBS, UNICEF, 2016).[2] Hence, the fairly low prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding is relatively responsible for infant malnutrition in the country.

Relation between breast milk and infant malnutrition

The World Health Organization claims the longer a mother breastfeeds, the longer the good health effects will be for both the mother and child. Breast milk contains all the nutrients needed by children in the first six months of life.[3] Breastfeeding is in many ways linked with nutrition and food security; health, development and survival. The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) has declared “Breastfeeding: a key to sustainable development” as its theme in 2016.

The WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) for the first six months of life and continuation of breastfeeding for two years.  Breastfeeding not only benefit the child but the mother as well. The World Health Assembly of the WHO even adopted a dedicated instrument in this regard, known as The International Code of Marketing of Breast milk Substitutes 1981.

According to the recommended National Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding in Bangladesh 2007, newborn babies must be exclusively breastfed for the first six months and then introduced to complementary foods. It is consistent with the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding (WHO, 2002) which looked promising. But there is no implementation plan. Thus, the strategy has not led to the desired impact. The Bangladesh Government aimed to protect the children from zero to five by enacting the Breast-Milk Substitutes Act 2013 which brings significant changes to the 1984 Ordinance.

What is a Breastmilk Subsitute?

According to the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes 1981, any food being marketed or otherwise presented as a partial or total replacement for breast milk, whether or not suitable for that purpose. This instrument also talks about ‘bona-fide breast milk substitutes’ which is an exception to the rule. When human milk (MOM or donor milk) isn’t available, infant formula is the third best option. The International Code calls it “weaning foods or breast-milk supplements.” However, infant formula is not risk-free. In 2007, the WHO issued guidelines for the safe use of powdered infant formula, after a number of premature babies died from infection due to contaminated formula.[4]

Related Bangladeshi legislation

The Breastmilk Subsitute Act of Bangladesh is in line with the International Code but remains silent on exceptions like bona-fide breast milk substitutes.

According to the Act, there will be no advertisement for baby foods, commercially produced supplementary baby foods and imports of its tools and no one can be engaged in these activities.

Section 4 of the 2013 Act states that no person shall print, exhibit, circulate or publish any advertisement of any breast-milk substitutes, infant foods, commercially manufactured complementary foods and any accessories thereof. Section 7 of the Act mentions that, people should be made aware of advantages of breast feeding and importance of homemade nutritious foods. Moreover, offering or proposing offers to any person such as to promote or allure the sale of these products are forbidden by the law.[5]

Breaching any section of this Act would result in an offence punishable with minimum three years imprisonment or with fine of maximum five lacs taka or both.

The Government has taken many other initiatives to curb nutrient deficiency in children. In 1989, the Government of Bangladesh passed a law making it mandatory for all edible salt to be iodized. The Iodine Deficiency Disease Prevention Act, 1989 and Rules, 1994. However, not many complied with the Act. BLAST filed a writ in 1999 challenging 8 salt manufacturers whose salt did not contain the required level of iodine. (BLAST and another vs. Bangladesh and others [‘Iodized Salt’ Case] Writ Petition No. 1043 of 1999). According to UNICEF, 84% of all edible salt is now iodized, helping reduce iodine deficiency disorders.[6]

Previously, the National Food Policy of 2006 laid down few objectives that talk about adequate nutrition for women and children. Later the National Children Policy 2011 put greater emphasis on the same issue. In Clause 6.2, it states that Nutrition of the child shall be given priority for the poverty alleviation of the children. The 2011 policy ensures safe birth and overall growth of children. Clause 6.1.4 states that the employment authority of a working mother shall have to arrange day care center for lactating and working mothers so that can breast feed child.

More recently the National Nutrition Policy 2015 gave further importance in ensuring appropriate nutrition through identification of different causes. Some of its suggested indicators are Increase the initiation of breastfeeding in the first hour of life. Among its recommendations there are, to increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in infants younger than age 6 months, to reduce maternal overweight (BMl>23), to reduce the rate of low birth weight etc.

In addition to the above laws, the Labour Act of 2006 allows indirect breastfeeding breaks for mothers at workplace. Section 94 of the Act talks states ‘rooms for children’ at workplace. Employers at establishments with forty or more workers must provide and maintain a suitable room or rooms for the use of children under the age of 6 and their mothers.

It has been submitted that breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast, uterine and ovarian cancer and promotes emotional health. Mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of depression. It contributes to a child’s growth and supplies the necessary antibodies and provides ideal nutrition for babies.

The Government led initiatives are in abundance with many new laws waiting to be enacted. But without proper implementation, they would just remain inside age old documents. The existing policies must be executed in order to eradicate malnutrition completely. The IYCF indicators are not adequately represented and the health workers have not been properly trained. Breast milk substitutes are still on sale despite the presence of the 2013 Act.

The traditional practice of breastfeeding must be encouraged. However, one cannot disregard the possibility of lack of breast milk due to many factors. The need for formula feeding can be life saving in such situations. This, however, has been overlooked by the much talked about Act of 2013.

Although 2013 Act deserves appreciation due to its indirect attempt to promote breastfeeding, it must be relaxed in special circumstances. Doctors must be fully aware about the rules and comply accordingly. Collective efforts like these would reduce the need for enacting new laws and benefit the society as a whole.

 


[1] Apprentice Advocate of Dhaka Judge Court

[2] Hoque M (2017), ‘Critical Issues in Child and Maternal Nutrition’, BIDS Critical Conversations 2017

[3] Mazumdar S (2016) ‘There is no substitute’, The Daily Star

[4] Spangler A (2012), ‘Can’t breastfeed? Formula isn’t your only option’, Howtolearn.com

[5] Dr. Anju S (2016) ‘Code of marketing of the breast milk substitutes’, The Daily Star

[6] Child and Maternal Nutrition in Bangladesh, UNICEF Report

Should Abortion be legal beyond life threatening situations?

The debate whether abortion should be legal remains a matter of controversy all over the world. It rests between the overlap of religion, politics and law. The continuous disagreement between the pro life and pro choice supporters undermines a women’s right over her body. Financial instability or emotional unpreparedness may not always be the reason behind her decision. Termination of pregnancy might be needed for various medical reasons.  Accounts of women dying for impending miscarriages for not aborting early are common.

Hence, the ‘right’ had to be recognized which only a few countries did. American women got their right as recently as 1973 after a landmark case of Roe v Wade. As we look further into the topic, in Bangladesh, abortion is only allowed when the woman’s life is in danger.

In developing countries like Bangladesh, there are many social issues which may affect a woman’s decision to give birth. Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of child marriage even though the legal age is 18. Early marriage leads to early pregnancy. UNICEF Bangladesh finds One third of teenage girls aged 15 to 19 are mothers or are already pregnant.

The Human Rights Watch details that young girls face serious health consequences including death from early pregnancy. In order to save these young lives, professionally performed abortions are needed. It will reduce injury and death caused by unsafe and illegal abortions, particularly in the rural areas.

A survey was conducted 6513 married women under 50 years of age by Bangladesh Fertility Survey (BFS). According to the statistics, 80% agreed to abortion for pregnancy as a result of rape or premarital sex, 53% approved danger to mother’s life, 30% for malformed child and only 17% wanted abortion for economic reasons (Ahmed R., 1979). Therefore it is clear that there are multiple reasons and consensus among Bangladeshi women.

What does the law say?

In Bangladesh, only the Penal Code 1860 talks about abortion or miscarriage. Sections 312-316 lay down the punishment for causing miscarriage. Section 312 states whoever voluntary causes miscarriage to a pregnant woman, given that it was not done in good faith shall be imprisoned for three years or with fine or both and if the fetus has been fully developed (quickening), the punishment may extend to seven years. A woman who performs an abortion on herself is subject to the above penalties.

It is not essential to this offence that the offender should know that the act is like to cause death. Section 316 says causing death of a quick unborn child amounts to culpable homicide. A ‘quick child’ is a fetus that has developed to such a stage that it moves within the womb of the mother (USLegal).

Since induced abortions are illegal, there are black market clinics making use of this opportunity. There have been an increasing amount of unsafe abortions done illegally. Despite the availability of MR facilities, women resort to stealth abortions under the supervision of unprofessional people. To prevent unwanted pregnancy, these women expose themselves to unsafe environment. An estimated 1,194,000 induced abortions were performed in Bangladesh in 2014, and many of these were likely done in unsafe conditions or by untrained providers. (Guttmacher Institute, 2017)

Bangladeshi law permits a woman MR (Menstrual Regulation) for upto 12 weeks of pregnancy. It is the method of vacuum aspiration if woman misses her period. This was introduced as part of the Government’s family planning program and not considered as an abortive measure. It may be regarded as a euphemism for early pregnancy termination.  It is estimated that 468,000 menstrual regulations are performed each year in Bangladesh (Henshaw, et al., 1999).

 

Laws around the world

Medical Termination of Pregnancy under certain conditions is legal in India. It recognized the need for abortions even when there is no danger to the mother’s life by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act 1971. There is another law Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994 which prevents gender selective birth or abortion.

The Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland refused to rule on allowing rape victims to have abortions, ruling that it is not up the courts to decide on abortion law. (Independent, 2017)

According to UN Experts, “Repealing anti abortion laws would save the lives of nearly 50, 000 women a year all over the world.” They believe “In countries which prohibit it, women who seek health services for an abortion, whether to carry out the termination or seek medical care after a miscarriage, may be subjected to prosecution and imprisonment.” (UN News, 2016) The grounds on which abortion is permitted in Bangladesh, according to the Population Division of UNDESA are:

To save the life of the woman    Yes

To preserve physical health         No

To preserve mental health           No

Rape or incest                                 No

Fetal impairment                           No

Economic or social reasons         No

Available on request                     No

Choosing an abortion is practically impossible in Bangladesh. It is regarded as morally wrong in the country. This is because being a Muslim majority; such practice is believed to be haraam. The Quran does not explicitly refer to abortion but states “Whosoever has spared the life of a soul; it is as though he has spared the life of all people. Whosoever has killed a soul, it is as though he has murdered all of mankind.” (Qur’an 5:32) There have been many interpretations to this verse. However Islam allows abortion to save the life of the mother due to the Sharia law of ‘choosing the lesser of two evils’.

If the above mentioned survey is observed, abortion is not available on request. A rape victim for example, must be permitted the right to abort even if her life is not in danger. She is an innocent victim. Such situation is beyond any legal or religious obligation. Denying access to termination of unwanted pregnancy in her situation would be denying a human right.

 

 

When to call 999: Bangladesh’s own Emergency Number

Emergencies do not come with a warning. In such events, doctors or the law enforcement may not be around to help out so one must respond fast. That is why the Universal Emergency Number 9-1-1 was thought by AT&T which has been serving the Americans since 1968.

The utility of this brilliant service gained recognition all over the world. It became popular because prior to these callers had to know the phone numbers of each department to call in case of an emergency.

In Bangladesh, such concept was unfamiliar till the ICT division launched its pilot project on December 2017. In association with the Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Fire Service, the Civil Defence Headquarters and the Department of Health, the Government has introduced an emergency number 999. This is our very own national emergency hotline which promises to be by our side in times of immediate need.

BTRC allocated 999 for this national help desk. It was changed from 2041 and 16666 upon the Honorable State Minister for ICTs request. The best part about the service is that it is toll-free. So the next time, you feel your life is under threat or someone you know needs quick medical help, you can call the number even if you are out of phone credit. The trained agents of the 999 service would direct you to the police or ambulance as you prefer.

One must know when to call this number since it is not an ordinary service. Users of emergency number across the world believe even if you are ever in doubt of whether a situation is an emergency you should call the number. You must not hesitate to seek help in situations which require expert attention.

So, when to call 999?

Since the service is still at its test period, it is best to aware people before it is widely available. Any emergency number, be it 911 or 999, must be carefully handled. According to 911.org, It’s better to be safe and let the emergency call taker determine if you need emergency assistance. Therefore it is best to observe the situation first without panicking. For example if you witness a road accident and serious casualties, make the call. You could probably save someone’s life by getting them an ambulance. The chart below beautifully defines when to or when not to call 999.

When to Call 999:     

Medical Emergencies      

Heart attack or stroke      

House fire      

Domestic violence      

Burglary or theft in progress      

Car accident with life threatening injuries      

Suspicious activities      

Anything else that seems like an emergency! 

Do not call 999:   

For information      

When there is load shedding     

To report a crack on your wall      

When your water pipes burst      

To get a ride for doctor’s appointment  for paying tickets      

For your pet   

As a prank

 

What to say by calling 999?
According to the website of National Helpdesk, the operators have already been trained to respond to different situations addressed by multiple callers. However when calling 999, one must provide the following information in details to assist them and to get quick relief:

1. Provide full address. In this case, mention district or name of upazila. If you do not know your accurate address, identify any landmark or bazaar near you.

2. Answer all the questions asked. The police or medical authorities may ask questions that you have to answer. This way they would be able to advice you about your initial steps to solve the problem.

3. Stay calm. When addressing your problem, you must be calm at all times for clarity. Becoming emotional would not only prevent the operators to understand your problems but keep them from giving you a remedy.

4. Describe your emergency. Provide these information carefully: Are you in the situation or someone else you know is? How did it happen? Which service do you require- Police or Ambulance? Is the condition of the injured very serious? Are they conscious? Are they breathing? Are they bleeding? If you cannot answer such questions clearly then let another person speak to the operator.

5. If theres a crime, describe the offender. If you are a witness to a crime, quickly move to a corner. Call 999 as fast as you can. If you know the criminal, mention that too. Let the operator know whether the criminal has a weapon. Answer these questions, how does he look? What is his religion? What is his approximate age, weight or color of dress? Is he still there or took off?

6.Keep your phone on. If you called from a cell phone, keep it on so that the operator could contact you back.

The 999 service is certainly a substantial change in the Bangladeshi society. There are drawbacks like the severe traffic condition of Dhaka city which may prevent quick response. The ambulance or the police may reach you much later than you hope for.

Hence keeping all these in mind, one must acknowledge the weight of an urgent situation and make the call as fast as possible. As crimes, medical emergencies are on the rise, such a service surely is a blessing. The ICT division deserves every support from the citizens for taking such a brilliant step.

 

 

Why are Dhaka parents not teaching their kids Bangla?

The Bangla language movement of 1952 is a powerful instance of one’s love and devotion towards their mother tongue. It showed how certain rights we get from birth may require a heavy price to achieve. UNESCO declared the day as International Mother Language Day to commemorate the language martyrs. And as Bangladeshis, not being aware of it is next to ungratefulness.

Growing up in Dhaka and studying in an english medium school in the 90s, it wasn’t unfamiliar knowing so much about such events. Besides teaching English, our teachers and parents made it sure to instill Bengali culture in our lives. Every year on the dawn of 21st February, I used to accompany my parents and walked barefoot to the Shaheed Minar.

But sadly, many of us who are now parents, have chosen to not introduce their children to bengali cultures or language. They want their children to be proficient in English and adopt a more western approach in their lifestyles. And I am not talking about expatriates. This is getting common specially among few ‘urban’ parents living in Dhaka. There are various reasons behind it.

The first word most Bangladeshis get to learn for the first time is ‘Maa’ or ‘Baba’. While both of these two words are Bangla, parents of today deliberately replace them with ‘mom’ and ‘dad’. They prefer English as their child’s first language. It is frustrating to know that these kids would grow up to become total ignorant to their culture or language. And their parents take pride in knowing that their children have lost their linguistic intelligence.

One of the major reasons is preparing their kids for an international environment. Most Bangladeshi parents want their child to complete their studies at a good university abroad. They want their child to do good in school and be ‘smart’ academically. The child experiences his/her foundation language being taken away at a very young age. They would find it hard to communicate with people outside their sphere. Therefore at one point in their lives, they are left feeling excluded and cannot fit right in.

According to a reputed speech-language pathologist Ana Paula G. Mumy, ‘To put a halt on the native language will only hurt the child’s language growth, and long-term negative effects will be inevitable.”

In her research, she emphasizes on how being able to communicate in the native language adds up to the overall development of a child. She says ‘I reiterate that children must be able to function/communicate effectively in their homes before they can function/communicate out in the community, so the native language cannot be stripped away, even for children with language delays.’  [Multilingual Living, 2013]

In the age of smartphones, tablets and youtube, children spend their leisure time online. They are more interested in staring at the screen than playing with toys. From games, movies to youtube videos, everything is in English. Toddlers and pre schoolers mostly pick up English words from interactive youtube videos.

Even when there are plenty of bangla videos of the same kind, parents would still opt to provide their child with english ones. I am not against children learning English but this mindset needs to change. Parents should strengthen their child’s foundation language first, then move on master a second one.

According to James Cummins, professor emeritus at University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, “Besides individual children losing their potential for bilingualism and their ability to communicate with their grandparents who might not know English.” [ Arpita Bhandari, CBC ]

Such acts not only curtail the birth right of a person but restricts his/her overall development. Parents must be aware that it may come back at them someday. Learning the mother tongue is a great way of communicating. This beautiful language Bangla was bought with bloodshed and today we have taken it for granted.

If we don’t uphold its significance, the upcoming generation will hardly feel the need to do so. Parents must come together and let their child grow uninterrupted.
Teaching your child his/her native language is a charity and charity begins at home.

What does Int’l Space Law have to say about Private Space Exploration?

As Elon Musk sends his Tesla to the space, it’s time we acknowledge the infinite possibilities of our time. With a view to familiarize with the idea of commercial space exploration, a private company, spaceX has gained worldwide attention. Now that space travel is about to be privatized, International Space Law has become more important than it ever was. Ever since the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957, questions regarding the legal jurisdiction of space have surfaced. The Space Age started with competitive nations rushing for the moon, one after another. That was when the United Nations recognized the need for a guideline to maintain peace.

The very first UN body concerned with space was the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOUS). It was made permanent in 1959. With UNCOPUOS established as a permanent body, the international government and law making process had begun. The Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, otherwise known as the ‘Outer Space Treaty’ was signed and enacted in 1967.

Till date it has 105 state parties and 89 signatory states including Bangladesh. Bangladesh has acceded to the treaty, meaning that it had signified the agreement to be legally bound by its terms. The Outer Space Treaty has laid a formal framework for nations regarding peaceful exploration of the space.

The treaty has several major points to it. Some of the principal ones are:

  • Space is free for all nations to explore, and sovereign claims cannot be made. Space activities must be for the benefit of all nations and humans.
  • Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction are not allowed in Earth orbit, on celestial bodies or in other outer-space locations.
  • Individual nations (states) are responsible for any damage their space objects cause. Individual nations are also responsible for all governmental and nongovernmental activities conducted by their citizens. These states must also “avoid harmful contamination” due to space activities.[1]

The 1967 Treaty made it official that the outer space is for everyone and anyone can explore it. This allows private sector to step right in and explore its possibilities. It also recommends that the moon and other celestial bodies would be used exclusively for peaceful purposes. It is much like the provision of High Seas in the UNCLOS Treaty of the 1982 which governs the law of the sea. Similarly, the Outer Space Treaty was enacted to legalize space exploration but for the benefit of the mankind as a whole.

The Outer Space Treaty and the other UN resolutions that followed have been successful in maintaining peace. But as we step into an era where commercial spaceflight is becoming a reality, challenges are coming our way. Privatized space travel will raise many complicated legal issues.

The Federal Aviation Administration of America is already in the process of establishing licensing and safety criteria for private spacecraft, a process that will continue to evolve as the industry matures. Space companies, legislatures and courts will need to address questions of liability in the event of accidents, the enforceability of liability waivers, insurance requirements, and the sufficiency of informed consent for passengers. Indeed, Florida, New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia have already passed laws limiting the liability of space tourism providers under state tort law.[2]

In 2015, the American Senate passed the bill ‘H.R. 2262’ also known as the US Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act. The bill is entitled, ‘An Act to facilitate a pro-growth environment for the developing commercial space industry by encouraging private sector investment and creating more stable and predictable regulatory conditions, and for other purposes.’ Under one provision of H.R. 2262 commercial companies get the rights to any resources that they collect from celestial bodies.[3]

As new avenues of space expedition opens up, existing laws must make room for them. Privatization is necessary for creating better opportunities. Therefore, privatizing space travel would not only allow easier access to outer space but introduce other countries to this sector. Developing countries like Bangladesh must not be left behind and encouraged to participate. Bangladesh is an emerging ICT hub and one such milestone is the expected launch of Bangabandhu Satellite. It is high time for its Government to invest or encourage private entities towards space travel.

 

 

[1] Howell E, ‘Who owns the moon?| Space Law and Outer Space Treaties’ , Space.com [published on Oct 27, ’17, available on https://www.space.com/33440-space-law.html%5D

[2] Kleiman M., ‘Space Law 101: An Introduction to Space Law’, American Bar Association [available on https://www.americanbar.org/groups/young_lawyers/publications/the_101_201_practice_series/space_law_101_an_introduction_to_space_law.html%5D

[3] Grush L, ‘Private space companies avoid FAA oversight again, with Congress’ blessing‘, The Verge [published on Nov 16, 2015, available on https://www.theverge.com/2015/11/16/9744298/private-space-government-regulation-spacex-asteroid-mining%5D