PESHAWAR: The media rights organisation – Freedom Network – Sunday asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to take up draft bill on journalists’ protection and welfare in the next cabinet meeting to do urgent legislation to end impunity for crimes against journalists and media in the country.
Freedom Network Executive Director Iqbal Khattak said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government took major step through Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari by drafting the bill which is now awaiting the cabinet approval, a press statement issued by Islamabad-based media rights organization said.
“We are thankful to Dr Shireen Mazari and her team for the draft bill with feedback from all stakeholders. This bill, if passed by the Parliament, will prove major stepping stone to protect journalists by brining perpetrators of these crimes targeted against information practioners,” Iqbal Khattak said.
Pakistan is among the top 10 worse countries where impunity for crimes against journalists and media is very high. Out of over 100 journalists killed since January 2001, no single murderer of media person was punished so far.
A Freedom Network’s 2019 Impunity Report “100% Impunity For Killers, 0% Justice For Pakistan’s 33 Murdered Journalists In 2013-19” presented a very grim situation, demanding urgent taking stock of the situation by the government, the letter said. “The need for journalists’ protection law is greater today than ever before as the murder case of journalist Aziz Memon in Sindh province showed that journalists are targeted to deny public of their right-to-know,” Iqbal Khattak argued. “We hope the draft journalists’ protection and welfare bill would top the next cabinet meeting’s agenda and all members would take interest in its early approval and promptly presenting in the Parliament. We hope opposition benches would also support it as opposition parties’ leaders have publicly committed to doing such legislation at the earliest.”