ISLAMABAD: A cell has been set up to provide free legal assistance to journalists in coordination with the Journalists Defence Committee of the Pakistan Bar Council (PBCJDC).

The initiative comes at a time when physical and online safety of journalists has become a serious concern in the country since 2001. More than 130 members of the fraternity have lost their lives over the last two decades. The cell, which includes lawyers well versed in constitutional, civil and criminal laws, will work under the umbrella of the Institute of Research, Advocacy and Development (IRADA).

It’s goal is to provide free legal assistance to journalists facing threats, attacks, restrictions and “judicial peril” in the line of duty.

Muhammad Aftab Alam, executive director of IRADA, said journalists had been working under tremendous pressure for the last two decades.

“They have faced enormous challenges ranging from assaults, intimidation, harassment and kidnappings to targeted killings and terrorism,” he observed.

Mr Alam pointed out that physical and online safety of journalists had been a source of worry since 2001 as more than 130 of them had lost their lives during the period.

A three-member committee, consisting of nominees from the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Pakistan Bar Council and IRADA, will oversee the cell’s functioning. The committee will determine whether the cell should accept a request for assistance and what should be the extent of its support in each case.

A dedicated email account (legal@irada.org.pk) has been created to receive applications and requests from journalists in distress.

Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2021

Opinion

Law & processions
16 Oct 2021

Law & processions

It is up to the police to impose reasonable conditions on a procession.
Is the party over?
16 Oct 2021

Is the party over?

Many in PTI are concerned how they can hang on till the next elections.
The last fortress
16 Oct 2021

The last fortress

The state wants to use the social media rules to trample on the right to freedom of speech.
Reopening under Covid
15 Oct 2021

Reopening under Covid

It will be a challenge to deal with all students returning to classrooms and maintaining SOPs.

Editorial

16 Oct 2021

Diminishing freedom

DESPITE the serious reservations of digital rights activists and tech companies, the federal government has...
16 Oct 2021

Dirty politics

IN her outburst against Prime Minister Imran Khan this week, PML-N leader Maryam Nawaz may not have taken names but...
16 Oct 2021

Decreasing emissions

THE announcement by SAPM on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam that carbon emissions in the country came down by 9pc...
No need for NAB
Updated 15 Oct 2021

No need for NAB

THE National Accountability Bureau has sent instructions to its regional bureaus to stop processing cases that fall...
Forced conversions
Updated 15 Oct 2021

Forced conversions

THE majoritarian view has once again prevailed in the matter of bringing about legislation against forced conversion...
15 Oct 2021

Transgender rights

MEMBERS of the transgender community in the country are often at the receiving end of both their families’ and...