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KARACHI: The Joint Action Committee (JAC) expressed serious concern over the proposed Punjab Defamation Bill 2024 in its current form and the proposed Federal Government “Digital Media Authority”.

The media bodies are not against strengthening the defamation laws or regulating digital medial after strengthening defamation laws, but the bill appears draconian in its current form and threatens the fundamental right to freedom of expression, it said.

The JAC emphasises the need for a detailed and purposeful consultation with all stakeholders to address the weaknesses of the proposed bill.

The JAC believes that any legislation in this regard must strike a delicate balance between protecting individual rights and upholding the principles of freedom of expression.

Therefore, the Joint Action Committee demands that the Punjab government and the Federal Government hold extensive discussions with media organizations, and other stakeholders to thoroughly examine the implications of the proposed legislation on freedom of expression and postpone the passing of the bill in the assembly until then.

The JAC remains committed to engaging constructively with the government to ensure that the defamation legislation and code for Digital media if enacted is fair, just, and in line with democratic principles, said a statement issued on behalf of Pakistan Broadcasters Association (PBA), All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE), Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), and Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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