IHC displeased with delay in legislation on journalists’ service

Published February 7, 2023
<p>A file photo of Senior Puisne Judge of the Islamabad High Court Justice Aamer Farooq. — File</p>

A file photo of Senior Puisne Judge of the Islamabad High Court Justice Aamer Farooq. — File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday expressed displeasure over the lethargy of the law and information ministries for delaying legislation for service structure of journalists working in electronic media.

IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq resumed hearing the petitions of a faction of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and Islamabad High Court Journalists Association (IHCJA).

He inquired from Information Secretary Shahera Shahid about the direction issued during an earlier hearing to draft the law for the electronic media journalists.

Ms Shahid told the court that matters related to electronic media workers were being dealt under the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) Act.

She, however, said she was not aware of the pending petitions of the PFUJ and IHCJA. Justice Farooq took exception to her remarks and pointed out that the petitions were pending since 2021 and the information ministry was not even aware of these.

The court was told that Implementation Tribunal of Newspapers Employees (ITNE) Chairman Shahid Mehmood Khokhar had already drafted the law for framing structure of electronic media workers.

The counsels for the petitioner, Adil Aziz Qazi and Barrister Umar Ijaz Gillani, informed the court that they have submitted written proposals to the information ministry. The law secretary told the court that he received the draft from the ITNE chairman, and the law ministry advised him to send this through the information ministry.

The court directed both the ministries to safeguard the interests of real stakeholders who were working journalists and take appropriate action by Feb 17.

“I will pass an appropriate order in case the government does not come up with a tangible solution till the next date,” the judge said.

Published in Dawn, February 7th, 2023

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