6 October 2022

By Rehan Piracha

LAHORE: A court-ordered panel of journalists on Wednesday held another meeting with senior officials of the interior and information ministries over harassment and assaults faced by media professionals in the country.

The Islamabad High Court had formed a committee comprising office bearers of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, the National Press Club, and senior journalists to hold discussions with government officials over a proposed oversight agency to monitor assaults and harassment of journalists in the country.

Speaking with Voicepk.net, senior journalist Imtiaz Alam, who is a member of the committee, said the PFUJ and senior journalist Mazhar Abbas presented reports in the meeting about physical and online harassment and assaults on journalists. “The meeting was informed about the tactics that the government, media owners, and state agencies used to pressure and harass media professionals in the country, he said.

“The journalists’ committee also shared an outline of a proposed authority or agency that should be formed to effectively monitor incidents of harassment and assaults on media professionals and that could also hold state officials accountable in such activities,” Imtiaz Alam told Voicepk.net.

The senior journalist said that the matter of a code of conduct for media professionals was also taken up in the meeting. “The government officials were told that journalists already had a mechanism of self-regulation in place along with a code of conduct,” Imtiaz Alam said. However, he was of the view that the government always used the regulation mechanism to control media in the country.

The participants also discussed strengthening of the defamation laws and suggested that such cases should be decided within three months, Imtiaz Alam said.

According to Imtiaz Alam, the committee is to hold further meetings with the officials of the interior and information ministry in the coming week. The committee is to submit a report to the Islamabad High Court by November 4, he added. The federal interior secretary and joint secretary of information participated in the meeting with the delegation of journalists committee formed on the orders of the Islamabad High Court.


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