The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) praised the PTI government for passing a bill on the protection of journalists and media professionals.
Upper House of Pakistan’s Parliament recently passed the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill 2021.
The bill aims to protect the rights of journalists and media professionals, including the rights of security, privacy, non-disclosure of sources, and independence when performing professional duties. Above all, section 12 of the bill also outlines the formation of a commission for the protection of media workers.
Calling it a welcoming development, the IFJ urged the government to ensure the effectiveness and the proper implementation of the bill.
“This is a much-needed development in safeguarding the rights and security of journalists in Pakistan – importantly the right to be paid as is their right,” the IFJ said in a statement.
“The IFJ urges the Pakistani government to open space for pluralism and dialogue with journalist communities to ensure this bill fulfills its full promise. The real work begins now,” it further added.
A landmark achievement for Pakistan
Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari presented the media protection bill. Taking to Twitter, she congratulated media persons on the passage of the bill.
In addition, the minister said that President Arif Alvi will sign the bill into law. She also thanked journalists and media professionals for “their valuable inputs and support”.
“I want to thank all the journalists and media professionals for their valuable inputs and support and the bill reflects these inputs. The bill was drafted with consensus,” Dr Mazari wrote.
I want to thank all the journalists and media professionals for their valuable inputs and support and the bill reflects these inputs. The bill was drafted with consensus.
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) November 19, 2021
Moreover, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry also praised the bill. He called it an “expression of the government’s commitment towards the journalistic community.”
Furthermore, he thanked Dr Shireen Mazari for turning his idea for journalists’ protection into reality.
ورکنگ جرنلسٹ کو بہت مبارک آج Journalist Protection Act سینٹ نے بھی پاس کر دیا، اس بل سے ورکنگ صحافیوں کو پہلی بار ایسے حقوق حاصل ہوں گے جو صرف انتہائ ترقی یافتہ معاشروں میں صحافیوں کو ملتے ہیں، یہ قانون @ImranKhanPTI جکومت کی صحافتی آزادیوں سے وابستگی کا اظہار ہے
— Ch Fawad Hussain (@fawadchaudhry) November 19, 2021
As the Senate passed the bills, the Opposition increased its resistance and chanted slogans against the PTI government.
In short, the Opposition demanded that Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani forward the media protection bill to the respective standing committee for vetting. However, this did not happen. Therefore, they carried out protests in the parliament.
Because friends in the media are asking: we did NOT oppose the Journalist Protection Bill, but were asking for it to go to Standing Committee, same as we wanted for all bills like HEC. After that supplementary agenda was produced when members had left for juma prayers
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) November 19, 2021
Frustrated with the proceedings, the Opposition surrounded the speaker’s dais, chanted slogans, and tore up copies of the agenda.