National Assembly passes Protection of Journalists, Media Professionals Bill

RAWALPINDI: The National Assembly on Monday passed the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill, 2021 which would provide for establishing a commission for the protection of journalists and media professionals.

Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, who moved had 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 passage of the bill,” she said.

The independent commission will 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.

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

It also referred 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.

Source: The News