LAHORE: The journalists’ community on Saturday rejected the Punjab government’s proposed Defamation Bill 2024 and announced to launch a protest campaign against it from Monday.

The journalists’ representatives and senior media professionals held discussions on the bill during a meeting at the Lahore Press Club and unanimously rejected the proposed law.

The meeting was presided over by Lahore Press Club President Arshad Ansari.

The meeting resolved to stage a protest against the proposed bill on Monday outside the Punjab Assembly. The opposition parties in the Punjab Assembly and representatives from civil society are expected to participate in the demonstration.

Prominent journalists, including CPNE President Irshad Ahmed Arif, expressed their commitment to opposing the bill.

Addressing the gathering, LPC President Ansari emphasized that the Defamation Bill 2024 was being imposed on them and they would not accept it. He urged the government to take notice of the peaceful protests.

“If the bill is not withdrawn, protests will be held before the assembly session,” he added.

Furthermore, the joint action committee of the CPNE, PUJ, APNEC, photographers and cameramen expressed unwavering support against the bill. The bill, they feared, would undermine the press freedom.

Former CPNE President Kazim Khan showed complete support for the decisions made during the meeting.

Lahore Press Club Vice President Amjad Usmani and Secretary Zahid Abid also spoke while Federal Union of Journalists Secretary General Rana Azeem, Punjab Union of Journalist President Ziaullah Khan Niazi, PUJ Central Leader Hameed Riaz Dogar and APNEC Secretary General Nawaz Tahir highlighted the lack of clear definitions in the bill that might allow accusations against journalists without proper grounds.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2024

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