Only those having an agenda against proposed Punjab defamation law: Azma Bokhari

Only those having an agenda against proposed Punjab defamation law: Azma Bokhari


Says professional journalists can’t have any problem with the move

  • Notes no one afraid of social media, but there are concerns over the trend of levelling baseless accusations
  • Explains salient features of the proposed legislation which has been tabled in Punjab Assembly
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LAHORE (Web Desk/Dunya News) – Punjab Information Minister Azma Bokhari on Wednesday said levelling baseless accusations and promoting fake news won’t be possible after the introduction of a defamation law in the province, as she defended the proposed move and rejected the arguments presented by the critics.

Criticise the draft law only after reading the document, said Bokhari who responded to different arguments presented against the move.

Addressing a press conference, the minister said some people were labelling the document tabled in Punjab Assembly as a “black law” without any reason.

Arguing her case, she said similar laws had been in place around the globe and were tough in their nature and added that anyone having objection on any of the sections should submit the same in a written form by Sunday.

She said the proposed law would also be applicable to social media which was being used to insult and defame the people by levelling unfounded allegations.

“No one is afraid of social media,” she said, but added that there were reservations over the unending series of baseless accusations and insults. “No one can ban freedom of expression nor will be there any.”

Replying to various questions, Bokhari said no professional journalist could have any problem with the law. However, those earning dollars through insulting others would surely have reservations, she remarked.

She was referring to the trend of using YouTube channels and other social media platforms like X to spread fake news.

The people who act like a petitioner, witness and judge themselves will have an issue with the legislation, the provincial minister remarked.

Bokhari said, “There are five to seven people who work on in this agenda who use the word “journalist” to identify themselves, but are not journalists.”

“Some people wake up in the morning with an agenda [to promote fake news]. But it won’t happen,” she promised.

“It won’t be allowed now to launch a campaign for 123 days and then claim that someone had whispered that fake news to me,” she said in an obvious reference to the incarcerated PTI founding chairman.

They had experimented with inscribing sandals with “Qaidi No 804” [Prisoner No 804] – the number allotted to the PTI former chairman in Adiala jail, which didn’t produce anything, she said. “They are currently begging to somehow get an NRO,” Bokhari remarked.

Bokhari said criticism for the sake of criticism had become a practice whenever the government tried to improve things, as she defended the proposed defamation legislation introduced by the ruling party in the province.


The minister started the presser while explaining the salient features of the proposed legislation, saying everyone was in complete agreement over the need to introduce the law which was totally civil in nature and didn’t involve police, arrests and had nothing to do with that.

According to Bokhari, the entire proceedings would have to be completed within 180 days and maximum penalty is the payment of Rs3 million in damages. However, one can demand more by arguing his or her case.

It will be a high court judge who would be given the status of tribunal to decide the matter. The judge heading the tribunal will give the accused a 21-day period and three hearings are to be held in 21 days. The accused himself will tell when the reply is to be submitted.