Media fraternity to move court against 'draconian' Punjab Defamation Bill

Media fraternity to move court against 'draconian' Punjab Defamation Bill


JAC complains bill passed without consulting stakeholders

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LAHORE (Dunya News) – A joint action committee comprising representatives of various journalist associations has condemned the Punjab Defamation Bill, 2024, as a "draconian law" and chosen to move courts against it. 

The decision was reached during a virtual meeting of the joint action committee comprising office-bearers and representatives of the Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), and the Association of Electronic Media Editors & News Directors (AEMEND). 

The committee highlighted that the bill was passed without consulting stakeholders and resolved to pursue various actions, including boycotting coverage, organising protests and staging sit-ins in a phased manner. 

The Defamation Bill, 2024, sailed through the Punjab Assembly on Monday amid protests from lawmakers on the opposition benches and journalists covering the parliamentary proceedings. 

The approved bill applies to print, electronic and social media platforms, targeting the dissemination of false information, including through YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. 

According to the bill's provisions, spreading news intended to harm a person's personal life or public position constitutes defamation. Special tribunals will be established to handle defamation cases, with a mandate to resolve these within six months. 

The bill specifies compensation of Rs3 million for defamation cases, and in instances involving individuals in constitutional positions, the high court bench will have jurisdiction.