Human rights ministry tables bill in NA seeking protection for journalists, media workers
Statesman Report
ISLAMABAD: The human rights ministry said Friday it had forwarded to the National Assembly a bill seeking protection for journalists and people employed by the media.
According to Human Rights Minister 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, sharing a copy of the proposed legislation.
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 (ICCPR).
Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), as per the proposed legislation, “includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media”.
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”.