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Defamation bill not against any journalist: Azma Bokhari

The Punjab information minister says the bill which is going to be presented in the Punjab Assembly for approval is for those who disrepute others’ respect by telling lies



Defamation bill not against any journalist: Azma Bokhari
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Lahore: Provincial Information Minister Azma Bokhari said that the law of defamation is not against any journalist, it is against those who disrepute others respect by telling lies.

“All journalistic organizations should write down their concerns and give them to me by Sunday as  their legitimate issues will be taken into account,” said the minister while addressing a press conference at the DGPR on Wednesday.

Azma Bokhari said that it is being said that freedom of expression is going to be banned as this is a black law but there is no such thing.

This law, she said,  is being brought so that people’s respect are not put at stake to earn dollars and cheap fame. The need to introduce defamation law arose because in the old defamation law no case could go beyond a notice.

She stated that an allegation was levelled on Shahbaz Sharif [the incumbent prime minister] then they offered Rs10 billion and withdraw from the case.

Similarly, an allegation was also levelled on Khawaja Asif which could not be proved. She said that the police would have no role in this law.

“A High Court Judge will be given the status of a tribunal, the Judge will have to hear only 2 cases a day and the cases will be completed in 180 days,” said the minister.

She stated that they did  not want to use this law for politics and they did not want to disrepute people. 

Azma said, “There are many news aired in our country which are not published in foreign countries because the laws are strong there,”.

The minister said that a working journalist would have no problem with this law, adding that a person who would lie under the guise of a journalist with a specific agenda would face problem with this law.

 This is the law of the common citizen so that no one can be blackmailed.

Azma said, “ Freedom of expression can neither be restricted nor  any one will be allowed to commit wrongdoing,”.

 She said that no one is afraid of social media, but someone objects to the allegations of social media, adding that the social media would have to run within the parameters of decency and civilization.

“My father and sisters were accused, I will bring the first defamation case myself. They say Azma Bokhari speaks a lot against PTI, such tactics are being used to put her under pressure. Everyone should know that Azma Bokhari is not going to come under anyone's pressure,” she added.