Another Petition Filed Challenging Punjab’s New Defamation Law | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Another Petition Filed Challenging Punjab’s New Defamation Law

Pakistan Press Foundation

On June 11, a new petition has been filed in the Lahore High Court challenging the recently enacted defamation law in Punjab. The petition was jointly submitted by the Association of Electronic Media Editors and News Directors (AEMEND) and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ).

Amid heated debate and public outcry, the Acting Governor of Punjab, Speaker Punjab Assembly Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan, officially signed the contentious Punjab Defamation Bill 2024 into law on June 8. Passed by the Punjab Assembly on May 20.

The petition names the Punjab government, represented by the chief secretary and other officials, as respondents. The petitioners argue that the defamation law, passed by the Punjab government, is in violation of the Constitution. “The government passed the defamation law contrary to the Constitution,” they argued.

AEMEND and PFUJ contend that the defamation law is likely to be misused for political purposes, particularly targeting journalists and curbing freedom of expression. They assert that the law could serve as a tool for political retribution against members of the press, undermining their ability to report freely and critically on government activities.

The petitioners have requested the Lahore High Court to declare the defamation law null and void, emphasizing that it contradicts constitutional protections of free speech and press freedom. They argue that such a law could have a chilling effect on journalism in Punjab, stifling dissent and critical reporting.

In a related case, on the same day, the Lahore High Court linked any proceedings under the defamation law to its final verdict on the petitions challenging the law. Justice Muhammad Amjad Rafiq issued notices to the attorney general, Punjab advocate general, and the provincial government to submit their replies. The petitioners, journalists Riaz Ahmad Raja and Jaffar Ahmad Yar, argued that the law undermines judicial independence and freedom of expression.

Comments are closed.