Stakeholders Call for Formation of Media Safety Commission at Seminar in Abbottabad | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

Stakeholders Call for Formation of Media Safety Commission at Seminar in Abbottabad

Pakistan Press Foundation

A seminar titled “Effective Use of Pakistan’s Journalists’ Protection Laws” was held at the Abbottabad Press Club on June 12, bringing together stakeholders from various sectors to discuss the implementation and challenges associated with media safety laws. Organized by the Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), the gathering drew a diverse group of stakeholders, including politicians, legal experts, police officers, and journalists, all united in their goal to discuss and advocate for better implementation of media safety laws.

The session commenced with an insightful introduction to the protection laws by the facilitator, Lala Hassan. “Today, we stand together to fortify the ramparts that protect our journalists,” Hassan emphasized, setting the stage for a discourse on the roles various stakeholders could play.

Amina Sardar, a Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), and Abdul Razaq Abbasi, a former MPA from Jamat Islami, pledged to champion the cause for forming the Commission to oversee these laws. Sardar affirmed, “I will take this matter to the highest levels of government to ensure our journalists are not only heard but also protected.”

Throughout the seminar, issues such as the challenges posed by non-professional media ownership, economic hardships faced by journalists, and the sometimes unfortunate role of law enforcement themselves in violating laws were passionately discussed. Barrister Hashim highlighted the legal urgency, stating: “It is imperative that we establish a Commission through legal channels promptly. If necessary, I am prepared to file a writ petition to catalyze this process.”

The discussions also touched on the detrimental impacts of these challenges on press freedom and journalist safety. “Our journalists face threats not just from the criminal elements but sometimes distressingly from within the very institutions tasked with their protection,” lamented a local journalist during the session.

The seminar concluded with several robust recommendations— organizing more targeted training sessions for police on journalists’ protection laws, urging media owners to adhere strictly to legal protections for journalists, and calling for a political and legal push to support the establishment of the proposed commission. “We need actionable commitments, not just words,” stated Superintendent of Police (SP) Muhammad Ishtiaq, emphasizing the need for ongoing collaboration.

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