Protection Act of Journalists and Media Professionals 2021

The salient features of the revised Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Bill, 2021 include the following:

  1. The Bill comprises of five Parts; Preliminary, Rights of Journalists and Media Professionals, Training and Insurance of Journalists, Investigation and Redress, and Miscellaneous. It also contains a Schedule.
  2. The Bill provides comprehensive definitions of “journalists” and “media professionals”. (Section 2)
  3. The Bill prescribes rights to journalists and media professionals. These include:
  1. Every journalist and media professional’s right to life and security of person, as contained in Article 9 of the Constitution, is safeguarded (Section 3)
  2. Journalists and media professionals right to be allowed to carry out their journalistic work in conflict-affected areas within the country, without threats, intimidation, harassment or fear of persecution or targeting. (Section 3)
  3. Commission to report its findings on any institution or organization who is, directly or indirectly, involved in violating, or attempting to violate, the rights to life and protection against ill-treatment safeguarded in Section 3 to the Federal Government and recommend appropriate course of action against the perpetrator(s) of these violations (Section 3)
  4. Right to safeguarding of the confidentiality of sources, of journalists or media professionals (Section 4)
  5. The Government to take all steps to protect journalists and media professionals from all forms of abuse, violence and exploitation at the hands of any person, institution (private or public) or authority. (Section 7)
  6. Right to protection from harassment
  • The Bill aims to institute Journalist Welfare Scheme whereby each Media Owner shall produce a comprehensive, written safety policy and protocols for journalists and media professionals (Section 9 and Schedule 1)
  • The Bill provides for the establishment of the Commission for Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals that shall include members from Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFU) and National Press Club (NPC) and Representatives from the Ministry of Human Rights and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. (Section 12)
  • The Bill empowers the Commission to provide redressal to journalists by inquiring into their complaints of threats, or acts of torture, killing, violent attacks. arbitrary arrest, arbitrary detention and harassment, and determining cases that are eligible for compensation from relevant federal and provincial funds. (Section 17).

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