ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – A Senate Committee on information, broadcasting and national heritage has termed most of the clauses included in 2011 Journalists Protection and Welfare Bill as irrelevant without clearly stating the fate of proposed legal framework which proposed provision of several landmark facilities to journalists.
The committee Monday also discussed the controversial clause of the bill which suggested to give Supreme Court of Pakistan an exclusive power to ask journalists to disclose the source of their information in the news related to national interest.
The majority of committee members concluded that most provisions of the bill were irrelevant and cannot be debated on however none of them spoke anything about drafting a new proposal or rejecting the bill categorically.
The bill, which although carried several negative sections, also added if approved the bill would ensure establishment of a social security fund for journalists and a national council to take steps for welfare of the journalistic community.
The bill also promised provision of free or subsidised treatment at government hospitals and provision of transport facility to the journalists working as beat reporters in federal or provincial departments.
Moreover every journalists would have also been allowed to approach nearest police station head officer (SHO) he would receive any threats, in that case the concerned SHO was to be responsible for his security and any loss to his life.
The bill was introduced by as many as 22 members, 15 of which are now retired, in the upper house parliament on October 31, 2011 however it was forwarded to a sub-body for further debate.