Sindh Minister for Information & Local Government Syed Nasir Hussain Shah presented the Sindh Protection of Journalists and Other Media Practitioners Bill 2021 in the provincial assembly on Friday.
The bill been prepared by the information department in consultation with the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and the Karachi Union of Journalists (KUJ) and senior journalists and media experts, including Prof Touseef Ahmed Khan, Mazhar Abbas, Fazil Jamali, Dr Jabbar Khattak, Owais Aslam Ali and Qazi Asif.
On the request of the information minister, the bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Law, which will scrutinise the proposed legislation and present its report to the assembly in three days.
KUJ praises govt
Earlier, praising the Sindh government’s efforts for the safety and social welfare of the journalists, the KUJ said the much-awaited bill would be tabled today in the assembly.
In a statement, KUJ President Nizamuddin Siddiqui and General Secretary Fahim Siddiqui asked the members of the Sindh Assembly to pass the bill so that it could become law immediately.
They said that because of the personal interest of Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, the bill had been approved by the provincial cabinet and tabled in the assembly. KUJ President Siddiqui said that the proposed legislation for the security and social welfare of journalists was a longstanding demand of the KUJ. “Today is a historic day in that the Journalist Protection Bill was first introduced in the National Assembly and is now being tabled in the Sindh Assembly,” the statement said.
In the current situation of rising crimes against journalists in the country, the steps taken by the federal and Sindh governments towards making laws for the protection of journalists were the need of the hour, said the KUJ.
“Therefore, the KUJ has demanded from the members of the national and provincial assemblies to approve it as soon as possible,” the journalist body said. “After the bill is introduced, the only thing left for it to become law is the approval of the members of the assembly.”
The KUJ also hoped that the bill would include the recommendations it presented to the information minister last month in writing in a meeting to make it a comprehensive law.