NA panel calls for expediting process of finalization of Journalists protection,welfare bill

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ISLAMABAD, April 28 (APP): National Assembly’s Standing Committee on IB&NH on Friday issued directives to the Ministry of to expedite the process of finalization of draft of the Protection of bill moved by Member National Assembly Sabibzada Tariqullah.
The meeting of the committee was chaired by Pir Aslam Bodla,(MNA).
During the discussion, Director General Internal Publicity Wing Ministry of IBNH, Nasir Jamal told the meeting that a similar bill was moved by Senator Prof Khursheed Ahmed in the Senate in 2011 and the ministry has merged and upgraded both the bills and sent its copies besides chairpersons of IBNH committees of both the houses of the Parliament and the stakeholders including media houses, working journalists representatives bodies and NGOS working on media issues.
He said that the media houses and journalists bodies have been asked to present their proposals by April 30. He said the ministry has organised consultations on the bill in various cities and latest consultations session was held in National Press Club which was also attended by Minister of State for IBNH Marriyum Aurangzeb.
He said that it was a private member bill which had been adopted by the government,but still its credit would go to the movers.
He said that safety and welfare of the media persons was focus of the bill as in the past this community remained neglected and this bill was first effort of its kind.
Imran Leghari,MNA raised the point that some news channels and newspapers indulge in character assassination of the various personalities, so there should be a clause to bring to book such persons who telecast or publish unverified news items.
The committee was informed that 74 media related laws already exist and Pakistan Press Council Ordinance and PEMRA Act 2007 also have relevant clauses.
The meeting was informed that in PEMRA act there were clauses under which the licence of the channel can be suspended, anchor persons or programmes can be prohibited for violations of the code of conduct.
He said that both PEMRA and PCP acts were in the process of amendments for further improvement.
The committee was given a comprehensive briefing on the working and performance of the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL).
Chairman of the PAL Dr Qasim Bogio told the committee that since its creation in 1976,the PAL had published about 350 books.
He said that due to financial and administrative reasons publication of the books had been stopped but since he took over in 2015,the process had been revived and several books had also been published.
On the proposal of Imran Leghari,MNA the committee suggested that the text book boards should take guidance from the PAL for improvements in their curricula. The committee said that Zarb-e-Azb had paid its dividends but now there was need of Zarb-e-Qalam to fight the extremist mindset in the country.
Prof.Bogio said that the PAL had been regularly organizing events to highlight the role of writers in national harmony and the bill the members of the committee.
The officials of information ministry told the committee that the work on the Journalist Protection Bill is under progress and it would be tabled in cabinet meeting till October 15.
The officials of information ministry told the committee that the
work on the Journalist Protection Bill was under progress and it would be tabled in cabinet meeting till October 15.
The meeting was attended by MNAs Malik Shakir Bashir Awan, Muhammad Tallal Chaudhry, Tahir Iqbal Ch, Ghulam Bibi Bharwana, Parveen Masood Bhatti, and Malik Muhammad Aamir Dogar,Mian Farooq,Imran Zafar Leghari and Arifa Khalid Pervaiz.
Senior officials from National History and Literary Heritage Division, Ministry of IBHN also attended the meeting.