ISLAMABAD: During a meeting with members of the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), the PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman, discussed the proposed, “the Protection of Journalists and Media professionals Bill 2020”, said a press release issued on Saturday. The bill aims to build an effective safety mechanism for freedom of expression for journalists.  

The meeting was attended by the Advisor to CM on Information, Law and Environment, Murtaza Wahab, Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)’s Fellowship editor Ghazala Fasih, and Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali. “The Protection of Journalists and Media professionals Bill 2020” was prepared by the Ministry of Human Rights last year in February.

“We need a robust provincial law to protect our journalists who face unprecedented levels of threat and violence by the federal government. Promoting the safety of journalists and combating impunity for those who attack them is the need of the hour,” the senator said. “In the World Press Freedom Index for 2020, Pakistan ranked 145 out of 180 countries. Today, journalists are being intimidated, threatened, censored and punished. The PTI government is finding new ways to silence media workers,” added the senator. “Protecting journalism is what PPP stands for. Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has clearly stated that we need to introduce progressive laws to protect and safeguard our journalists,” the senator said.

Senator Rehman recommended another consultative meeting to discuss the proposed bill with senior journalists in Karachi. “Media freedom is one of the most important pillars of democracy. In Pakistan, there is a dire need for substantive legislation to protect the journalist community. The PPP has and will always stand by the journalists in the country. No democracy can thrive without a free press,” she concluded.—PR