IHC seeks report on steps taken to protect journalists

Law, information secretaries told to submit report in two weeks

Saqib Bashir November 27, 2021
Islamabad High Court. PHOTO: IHC WEBSITE


The Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed the information and law ministries on Saturday to submit a report on steps taken to ensure the protection of journalists across Pakistan.

In a brief order by Chief Justice Athar Minallah, the high court asked the information secretary as well as the law secretary to submit their response pertaining to the problems faced by journalists within two weeks.

In the order, the high court said there was no effective legislation to ensure the security of media workers. The order said that the petitioner invoked articles 9, 14, and 19-A of the constitution to raise these questions of public interest in the plea.

“The court was informed that ensuring the security of media workers and fundamental rights were interlinked,” the order added.

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During the case, the high court was apprised that at least 40,000 cases were currently pending in the Implementation Tribunal for Newspapers Employees (ITNE). The IHC order directed the ITNE to submit a report on the cases pending with it.

“These questions are related to the freedom of the press,” the high court said, adding, “Article 19-A also gives citizens the right to access information in the public interest.”

The high court said the freedom of editors, reporters and columnists was of utmost importance, adding that this “important” question must be considered in the context of international practices and the United Nations Human Rights Commission reports.

The IHC appointed presidents of the Supreme Court Bar Association and the Islamabad High Court Journalist Association as amici curiae in the light of the public importance of the issue. Senior journalists Hamid Mir and Mazhar Abbas were also asked by the court to provide judicial assistance to the court on the matter.

The case should be fixed for hearing in three weeks, the IHC added.


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