ISLAMABAD (ENNS) The human rights ministry said on Friday it had forwarded to the National Assembly a bill seeking protection for journalists and people employed by the media outlets.
According to Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari, the proposed legislation — titled “Protection of Journalists & Media professionals Bill 2020” — was presented after due process and consultations with media personnel.
“The Ministry of Human Rights has sent the Protection of Journalists & Media Professionals Bill 2020 forward in accordance with the government procedures and after getting inputs from various journalists/bodies,” Mazari wrote on Twitter.
She added that the bill had been initiated by Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry earlier when he was minister of information and broadcasting.
As per the copy shared by Mazari, the bill seeks to “promote, protect and effectively ensure the independence, impartiality, safety and freedom of expression of journalists and media professionals”.
It further mentions that it was “the responsibility of the State to safeguard the right to freedom of expression”, in line with Article 19 of the Constitution and Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
It further notes that the safety and independence of journalists was “the requirement of any democratic society” in light of the “specific attacks on journalists and media professionals”.
The proposed legislation also underscores the need “to establish a legal and institutional framework for the protection and promotion of the rights of journalists and media professionals”.
It is pertinent to note that journalists bodies and media development organisations had been demanding separate legislation which should only address the safety and security of journalists and, media workers.
The bill prepared by the then minister was rejected by media bodies due to non taking them into confidence.