National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Thursday considered ‘The Protection of Journalists Bill, 2014’. However, the Bill was deferred with direction to the Information and Broadcasting Division to complete all constitutional and legal requirements, in consultation with Ministry of Law and Justice, Media Organizations and all other stakeholders without further delay as the legislation had already been delayed. The Committee was of the view that media persons and their families were vulnerable, therefore, measures from the State were imperative for their safety and welfare.
The Committee further directed that the final draft Bill regarding the implementation of the law, up to the extent of Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), after the consultation with Ministry of Law and Justice be presented in its next meeting, positively. Earlier Director General Internal Publicity Wing, Nasir Jamal informed the committee that the ministry was planning for early enactment of the law but now the Law and Justice Division has given its opinion about the bill. Secretary IBNH Sardar Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera said that the welfare of the journalists was top most priority of the government.
He said that the ministry would approach the provinces for fulfilling the legal requirements as mentioned in the Law and Justice Division’s reply. The Committee deferred ‘The PEMRA (Amendment) Bill, 2017’ till its next meeting, due to the non-availability of Mover of the Bill. The Chairman of the Committee asked the members to meanwhile give valuable input. Chairman PEMRA, Absar Alam told the committee that media houses may have some of the clauses of the proposed bill which calls for appointment of retired judges and bureaucrats. The Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA) wants that professors,lawyers and other members of the civil society should be the members of the Councils of Complaints (CoC).—APP