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IHC seeks report on steps taken to protect journalists

By Our Correspondent
November 28, 2021
IHC seeks report on steps taken to protect journalists

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Islamabad High Court (IHC)Athar Minallah has directed the information and law ministries to submit a report on the steps taken to ensure the protection of journalists across Pakistan. In a brief order, the CJ asked the information secretary and the law secretary to submit their response pertaining to the problems faced by journalists within two weeks.

He said there is no effective legislation to ensure the security of media workers. He said 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 their fundamental rights are interlinked. The court was apprised that at least 40,000 cases are pending with 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 that Article 19-A gives citizens the right to access information in the public interest.

The court said the freedom of editors, reporters and columnists is 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 the presidents of the Supreme Court Bar Association and the Islamabad High Court Journalists Association as amici curiae in light of the public importance of the issue. Senior journalists Hamid Mir and Mazhar Abbas were 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 court ordered.