Gazette notification for Punjab Defamation Bill 2024 issued

The government has issued a gazette notification for the ‘controversial’ Punjab Defamation Bill 2024, after approval from the acting governor.

On June 7, Acting Governor Malik Ahmed Khan sent the document to the Punjab Assembly after signing the bill, which was held by the PPP’s governor.

According to the notification, the Punjab Defamation Bill 2024 has been enforced across Punjab with immediate effect.

The law will address the pervasive issue of misinformation on social media platforms, including YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Under the bill, a defamation case can be filed on those spreading ‘fake news’.

Journalists’ reaction
The journalist community rejected the bill and termed it ‘non-democratic

During the press conference, Arshad Ansari, the president of the Lahore Press Club, stated that a protest was called in the Punjab Assembly on behalf of government members following a meeting of the Joint Action Committee regarding the Defamation Bill 2024.

He added that the committee had offered to delay the protest and requested the government members to postpone the bill for a week, but this request was not accepted.

HRCP’s reaction
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has expressed grave concern over the defamation bill 2024, with its chairman saying the content and language of the bill is “troubling on several counts”.

“First, it proposes a parallel structure to adjudicate claims of defamation. HRCP has consistently decried special parallel judicial structures on the grounds that they invariably violate fundamental rights and other universally accepted norms governing the fair functioning of the judiciary,” the statement said.

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