IHC forms committee on journalists’ rights law

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday ordered to form a five-member committee in a case seeking legislation for the rights of journalists and sought its report on March 17.

The committee would be comprising Federal Minister for Law & Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar, Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb, Secretary Information Shahera Shahid, Secretary Law & Justice Raja Naeem Akbar and Senior Anchor Hamid Mir. The court directed the committee to submit its report after consulting with all stakeholders regarding the legislation. Chief Justice Aamer Farooq heard the case filed by Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Islamabad High Court Journalists Association (IHCJA) and others.

At the outset of hearing, additional attorney general adopted the stance that the draft of the legislation was ready and its copy had also been shared with the petitioners. Hamid Mir said that they had also prepared a draft and provided it to the previous government, adding that copy of it was also being shared with the incumbent set up. Hamid Mir said that the incident of torture on journalists took place even in premises of the IHC. The chief justice remarked that it was unfortunate, adding that he had ordered the DIG police for inquiry into the matter. The court would take an effective action in this matter, he said.

Amicus curiae Faisal Saddiqui said that the court couldn’t direct the government for legislation. The chief justice said that the protection of the rights of the citizens was the responsibility of this court, adding that ITNE had no authority, too. Justice Farooq remarked that in his personal opinion, there was a need for amendment in the structure of ITNE but the parliament was authorized to view such matters. The court said that the committee would submit its report on March 17, after holding consultation with the stakeholders. The further hearing of the case was then adjourned.