ISLAMABAD                  -             Media rights organisation Freedom Network asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to take up draft bill on journalists protection and welfare in the next Cabinet meeting to do urgent legislation so as to end impunity for crimes against journalists and media in the country. Freedom Network Executive Director Iqbal Khattak said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government took major step through Federal Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari by drafting the bill which is now awaiting the Cabinet’s approval, a Press statement issued by Islamabad-based media rights organisation said. “We are thankful to Dr Shireen Mazari and her team for the draft bill with feedback from all stakeholders. This bill, if passed by the Parliament, will prove major stepping stone to protect journalists by bringing perpetrators of these crimes targeted against information practioners,” Iqbal Khattak said.

 Pakistan is among the top 10 worse countries where impunity for crimes against journalists and media is very high. Out of over 100 journalists killed since January 2001, no single murderer of journalist was punished so far. A Freedom Network’s 2019 Impunity Report “100 per cent Impunity For Killers, 0 per cent Justice For Pakistan’s 33 Murdered Journalists In 2013-19” presented a very grim situation demanding taking urgent stock of the situation by the sitting government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the letter said. “The need for journalists protection law is greater today than ever before as the murder case of journalist Aziz Memon in Sindh province evidenced that journalists are targeted to deny public of their right-to-know,” Iqbal Khattak stated.

 “We hope the draft journalists’ protection and welfare bill will top the next Cabinet meeting’s agenda and all members will take interest in its early approval and promptly presenting in the Parliament where Opposition benches will also, we hope, support it as Oopposition parties leaders have publicly committed to doing such legislation at the earliest.”