Cabinet stops short of okaying bill for journalists protection

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ISLAMABAD : The federal cabinet on Tuesday stopped short of giving its formal approval to a comprehensive draft bill prepared by the human rights ministry which aims to “promote and effectively ensure the independence, impartiality, safety and freedom of expression of journalists and media professionals”.

Instead, the cabinet gave its approval “in principle” to club it with an earlier bill prepared by the information ministry and decided to send them to the law ministry for necessary adjustments to turn them into a single bill.

Senior editors and media experts, who have seen the draft bill prepared by the human rights ministry, say it is one of the most detailed pieces of legislation to ensure protection and safety of journalists.

However, the clubbing of the two draft bills may lead to a delay in their becoming a law as after it is finalised by the law ministry, the final draft will be forwarded to the Cabinet Committee on Legislative Cases and then to the cabinet for formal approval.

Approves its clubbing with an earlier bill drafted by information ministry