Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists objects to some clauses of journalists protection law

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) on Saturday said some clauses of the Protection of Journalists (PFUJ) and Media Professionals Act 2021 could be used to frame a mediaperson in a false case and that should have been avoided.

The bill was approved by the National Assembly on Nov 8 and the Senate on Friday.

The treasury side approved the bill without forwarding it to the relevant standing committee.

Later, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain congratulated working journalists over the passage of the bill in a tweet saying: “The law would, for the first time, give working journalists the same rights the journalist community enjoyed in highly developed societies.”

Meanwhile, PFUJ secretary general Nasir Zaidi said Clause 6 (3) of the Act could be used by any government to frame journalists and it should have been amended.

“These are thin lines that are always placed in such laws that could be used against any individual or organisation,” Mr Zaidi added.

Clause 6 of the Act states: “All journalists and media professionals must respect the rights and reputation of others and not produce material that advocates national, racial, ethnical, religious, sectarian, linguistic, cultural or gender based hatred which may constitute incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.”

Mr Zaidi said these restrictions were also present in other laws and such a connotation in the Act could have been avoided if it would have been finalised after consultation in the Senate standing committee.

Under the Act, the government will establish a 16-member independent commission for the protection of journalists and media professional which will include 12 working journalists to be nominated by journalists’ bodies.

The Act highlights that the government will ensure that journalists and media professionals are allowed to carry out their journalistic work in conflict areas.

The government will ensure that effective measures are taken to protect journalists and media professionals from forced or involuntary disappearances, kidnapping, abduction or other methods of coercion.

It also grants rights to privacy and non-disclosure of sources, and states that the government shall ensure that no person, officer, agency or institution unlawfully or arbitrarily interfere with the rights to privacy of any journalist and his/her family.

The Act says that the “government shall make efforts to safeguard confidentiality of the sources of a journalist. The Act also has provisions for independence for mediapersons in the performance of their duties.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) on Saturday said some clauses of the Protection of Journalists (PFUJ) and Media Professionals Act 2021 could be used to frame a mediaperson in a false case and that should have been avoided.

The bill was approved by the National Assembly on Nov 8 and the Senate on Friday.

The treasury side approved the bill without forwarding it to the relevant standing committee.

Later, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhry Fawad Hussain congratulated working journalists over the passage of the bill in a tweet saying: “The law would, for the first time, give working journalists the same rights the journalist community enjoyed in highly developed societies.”

Meanwhile, PFUJ secretary general Nasir Zaidi said Clause 6 (3) of the Act could be used by any government to frame journalists and it should have been amended.

“These are thin lines that are always placed in such laws that could be used against any individual or organisation,” Mr Zaidi added.

Clause 6 of the Act states: “All journalists and media professionals must respect the rights and reputation of others and not produce material that advocates national, racial, ethnical, religious, sectarian, linguistic, cultural or gender based hatred which may constitute incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence.”

Mr Zaidi said these restrictions were also present in other laws and such a connotation in the Act could have been avoided if it would have been finalised after consultation in the Senate standing committee.

Under the Act, the government will establish a 16-member independent commission for the protection of journalists and media professional which will include 12 working journalists to be nominated by journalists’ bodies.

The Act highlights that the government will ensure that journalists and media professionals are allowed to carry out their journalistic work in conflict areas.

The government will ensure that effective measures are taken to protect journalists and media professionals from forced or involuntary disappearances, kidnapping, abduction or other methods of coercion.

It also grants rights to privacy and non-disclosure of sources, and states that the government shall ensure that no person, officer, agency or institution unlawfully or arbitrarily interfere with the rights to privacy of any journalist and his/her family.

The Act says that the “government shall make efforts to safeguard confidentiality of the sources of a journalist. The Act also has provisions for independence for mediapersons in the performance of their duties.