January 23, 2022
ISLAMABAD - The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) has challenged the definition of a 'journalist' and Section 6 of the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act, 2021.
PFUJ Secretary General Nasir Zaidi (pictured), in a writ petition filed in the Islamabad High Court through Journalists' Defence Committee (JDC) of Pakistan Bar Council (PBC), highlighted photojournalists camerapersons were excluded from the definition of 'journalist' in the Journalists Protection Act.
According to the petition, Section 6 of the said Act was neither in consonance with the preamble of the Protection of Journalists and Media Professionals Act, 2021 nor with the Constitution of Pakistan. "This provision violates the general principles laid down by the constitutional court for imposition of restrictions on the constitutional rights and freedoms, particularly the right to freedom of speech and expression and information as guaranteed under Article 19 and 19A of the Constitution."
The PFUJ maintained that excluding photographers and camerapersons from the definition of a 'journalist' is tantamount to undermining photojournalism's profession and role in informing and educating citizens.
After hearing arguments of counsel Aftab Alam, Babar Hayat and Umar Gillani, IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah issued notices to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Ministry of Human Rights and attorney general to respond to the petition at the next hearing on February 9.
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