Marriyum asks PFUJ to finalize proposals for inclusion in Journalist Security, Protection Bill by April 30

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ISLAMABAD, April 10 (APP): Minister of State for Information,

Broadcasting and National Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb on Monday
asked the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) to expedite
the submission of its proposals for inclusion in the draft of
Journalists Security and Welfare Bill so that it could be sent to
the parliament for early enactment.
Addressing the participants of a consultative meeting at
National Press Club, she said that the draft of the bill was
circulated on February 3 among media houses, press clubs and civil
society organizations with a view to enlist their opinions and seek
proposals from all the stakeholders.
She said that the draft bill would be finalized after
the receipt of input from them.
The minister asked the management of the National Press Club
(NPC) to present its recommendations by April 30 so that another
consultation session could be held at NPC to finalize the draft.
She thanked the media persons for their contribution, saying
that without their participation it was not possible to give it a
final shape.
The minister said that the input of the National Assembly
committee constituted during previous government and headed by Ahsan
Iqbal would also be included in the final draft.
Dilating on the constitution of the Wage Board Award, the
minister remarked that it was a legal responsibility which should be
fulfilled without delay and an appropriate mechanism should be
devised to remove snags in its timely constitution.
In her initial statement, she said, “Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif has directed to take comprehensive measures for safety,
security and welfare of the journalists and media workers.”
She said that a comprehensive definition of the journalist had
been given in the draft and the word cameraman had been added to
give representation to cameramen of the news channels.
The minister informed the meeting that the existing laws
related to media had also been included in the draft bill.
Marriyum Aurangzeb said a Journalists Council would be
constituted for implementation of the bill in its true spirit.
She said the bill was generalized for the very purpose of
getting recommendations from all sections of media and civil
society.
President Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists Afzal Butt
said that it was a historic day as consultations on draft of
Journalists Security and Welfare Bill were being held. He said
that it was a long standing issue and credit for this legislation
would go to the present government.
He expressed the hope that after implementation of this bill
many problems being faced by media persons would be resolved.
The participants of the discussion suggested that protection
should be provided not only to journalists, but also the supporting
staff, including DSNG staff and drivers, as they were media workers
and often the target of the terrorists.
They also proposed that media houses should be made responsible
for giving proper training to media persons going on duty in the
conflict zone.
The participants proposed that perpetrators of terrorist
attacks on media should be tried under Anti-Terrorist Act and
implementation of laws related to Wage Board Award should be ensured
before the enactment of the new legislation.