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National Assembly approves journalist protection bill

The Standing Committee of the National Assembly (NA) on Human Rights on Wednesday gave approval to the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill 2021 with an amendment and now the bill will be presented before the National Assembly for further consideration.

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The National Assembly Monday gave its nod to the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill, 2021. The bill paves way for establishing an independent commission for the protection of journalists and media professionals.

The bills presented by Ms. Mazari were Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill 2021, Protection against Harassment of Women at Workplaces Bill 2021, National Commission on the Rights of Child (amendment) Bill 2021, Juvenile Justice System (Amendment) Bill 2021 and Islamabad Capital Territory Child Protection (Amendment) Bill 2021.

Minister for Human Rights Dr. Shireen Mazari, who had moved the bill on May 21 this year, said the bill was okayed by the standing committee on human rights headed by PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. “I thank the Opposition for their cooperation in the passage of the bill,” she said.

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An independent commission will be established to inquire into complaints against threats or acts of torture, killing, violent attacks, forced disappearance and arbitrary arrests.

The reports of the commission would be laid before the parliament through the Ministry of Human Rights. It would provide for measures to actively investigate, prosecute and punish acts of violence and any threats to journalists providing protection of their lives.

National Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2021

The National Assembly also passed the National Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which provides for an extension in the tenure of the Prosecutor General of NAB.

The NA also passed the Protection Against Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Amendment) Bill, 2021 and the National Commission on the Rights of Child (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

The Minister for Law and Justice also laid National Accountability (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 (Ordinance No. XXIII of 2021 and the National Accountability (Third Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 (Ordinance No. XXVI of 2021).

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The minister also tabled the Islamabad Capital Territory Charities Registration, Regulation and Facilitation Bill, 2021 and the Covid-19 Bill, 2021.

The opposition members twice pointed out to lack of quorum in the House. The House was found in order at the first attempt made by Agha Rafiullah. However, the proceedings were adjourned after another PPP member raised the question of lack of quorum.

APP with additional input by GVS

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