Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill to safeguard the rights of working journalists, signed by President Dr Arif Alvi.
The President signed the legislation at a ceremony attended by cabinet ministers and a large number of journalists and media professionals.
This bill focused on protecting lives of journalists, saving them from harassment and torture and ensuring their welfare by giving facilities of life and health insurance. He said he was very happy to sign the historic bill. President said that for the last 60-70 years, the journalists raised issues and after which mafias of all kinds killed, harassed and tortured them. Mr. Arif Alvi underlined the need for a culture of tolerance for journalists because they were only doing reporting and disseminating information. As people did not want that their mistakes should be exposed they put pressure on the journalists, he noted.
The President said he came to know that a consensus was built among the stakeholders on the bill. Everybody was unanimous in protecting the rights of journalists, he stressed.
While explaining features of the act, he said the act gave protection of life to journalists. This right to life was important as the journalists worked in hazardous conditions and with neutrality, he added. The President said that the government and the media owners had now more responsibility to protect the lives of journalists.
The act also protected the journalists’ right to not disclose their information which was important for maintaining freedom of expression, he added. The act also provided a comprehensive definition of journalists and media professionals. The President said debate on disclosure of information would continue in the society in future as well.
He said the act also gave journalists independence, adding the law also protected journalists against intolerant behavior, violence and harassment.