ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) out rightly rejected the proposed final draft of the journalists Protection and Welfare Bill, 2017 as neither it provided protection framework for journalists nor any punishment for those involved in killing of journalists.
“This is a sham bill aimed at befooling the journalist community as well as the international community”, said a statement issued by the PFUJ on Wednesday. According to a press release, the statement said that government particularly the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has totally ignored the amendments proposed by the PFUJ into the said Bill. The PFUJ had proposed several amendments to protect journalists who are the prime targets of killing by vested interest. It had also proposed punishment for attacks on media houses, DSNG vehicles and media workers.
“The government has only incorporated a minor proposal of the PFUJ regarding holding of an inquiry in connection with attacks on media property/personnel by an official not less than a rank of superintendent of police,” the statement said. The government wants to create an impression that the Bill has been prepared with the consent of the PFUJ but this is not the case”.
The recent killing of Bakhsheesh Elahi, a reporter of TV channel and a daily in Haripur, has proved beyond doubt that the present laws have failed to protect the life of journalists and it’s the need of the time to incorporate stringent measures into the toothless Bill.
Similarly, the recent kidnapping attempt of Aizaz Syed, reporter of Geo TV, is another example that the spy agencies of the country need to be reigned and the PFUJ had proposed concrete steps in its recommendations that had been ignored by the government.
It said the Tuesday attack on the DSNG van and thrashing of reporters and camera persons of a private TV in Faisalabad is another proof that those involved in such heinous crimes need to be punished by heavy hand.
While totally rejecting the government’s protection bill, the PFUJ called upon the political parties to oppose the government-sponsored bill and pressurise the government to incorporate the proposals given by the journalists’ community. The PFUJ also demanded of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information and Broadcasting not to table this bill in the National Assembly in its present form.