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LAHORE: Provincial Information Minister Azma Bokhari said on Wednesday that the proposed law of defamation is not against any journalist, it is against those who disrepute others respect by telling lies.

“All journalistic organizations should write down their concerns and give them to me by Sunday as their legitimate issues will be taken into account,” Azma said, adding: “It is being said that freedom of expression is going to be banned as this is a black law but there is no such thing. This law is being brought so that people’s respect is not put at stake to earn dollars and cheap fame.”

Talking to media, she said the need to introduce defamation law arose because in the old defamation law no case could go beyond a notice. “An allegation was leveled on Shahbaz Sharif then they offered ten billion Rupees and withdraw from the case. Similarly, an allegation was also leveled on Khawaja Asif which could not be proved,” she added.

She said that the police will have no role in this law. A High Court Judge will be given the status of a tribunal, the Judge will have to hear only two cases a day and the cases will be completed in 180 days. She further said that we do not want to use this law for politics and we do not want to disrepute people.

There are many news aired in our country which are not published in foreign countries because the laws are strong there. “A working journalist will have no problem with this law. A person who would lie under the guise of a journalist with a specific agenda will face problem with this law. This is the law of the common citizen so that no one can be blackmailed,” she said.

She said that no one is afraid of social media, but someone objects to the allegations of social media. Social media will have to run within the parameters of decency and civilization, she added. “My father and sisters were accused; I will bring the first defamation case myself. They say Azma Bokhari speaks a lot against PTI; such tactics are being used to put her under pressure. Everyone should know that Azma Bokhari is not going to come under anyone’s pressure,” she said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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