ISLAMABAD (Staff Report) – A Senate committee will Monday begin a debate on the controversial clause of long-delayed Journalists Protection and Welfare Bill 2011 which gives Supreme Court of Pakistan an exclusive power to ask journalists to disclose the source of their information in cases related to national interest.

The bill was introduced by as many 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.

The bill, which carries several negative sections, carries many landmark provisions as well. Such as if approved the bill will 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 promises 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 will be allowed to approach nearest police station head officer (SHO) he would receive any threats, in that the concerned SHO will be responsible for his security and any loss to his life.

The representatives of journalist community have also been invited for the Monday meeting where their response to the proposed bill be recorded.

After the approval of committee the bill will be tabled in Senate for a formal approval as an act.