Bill to amend defamation law tabled
ISLAMABAD – The government on July 29 tabled in the National Assembly a bill seeking to amend the Defamation Ordinance 2002 and the Pakistan Penal Code.
Called the Defamation (Amendment) Act, 2004, it purports to hand out severe punishment jointly to the publisher, editor, reporter and distributor in case of libel.
The sentence under the proposed bill has been enhanced from three months to one year and fine to Rs300,000, from Rs50,000. The jurisdiction of the trial of defamation cases has been extended to the district and sessions judge who will decide these cases within 90 days as against six months in the original ordinance.
The high court has been empowered to hear appeal and decide it within 60 days. Through amendment of Section 500 Act XLV of 1860, the punishment for defamation has been enhanced up to five years or with fine which shall not be less than Rs100,000 or with both.
Similarly, through amendment in Section 501 pertaining to Act XLV of 1860, the punishment has also been sought to be increased to seven years or with fine in place of two years or with both.