Azma Bokhari Says New Defamation Law Much Needed For Punjab

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Azma Bokhari says new defamation law much needed for Punjab


 

The provincial minister emphasizes the need for respect and truthfulness in public discourse, expressing dismay over false propaganda targeting her own sister.

LAHORE: (UrduPoint/Pakistan Point News-May 15th, 2024) Punjab's Information Minister, Azma Bokhari said that there is a great need for a new defamation law in the province, aimed at safeguarding public officials from baseless attacks and false allegations.

Speaking at a press conference held at DGPR, Bokhari condemned attempts to tarnish the reputation of officials, citing derogatory remarks and calls for National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) as dishonorable tactics.

Addressing the issue, Bokhari criticized certain individuals within the PTI leadership, highlighting their past actions such as inscribing "Prisoner No 804" on their shoes and their current alleged pursuit of NRO. She emphasized the need for respect and truthfulness in public discourse, expressing dismay over false propaganda targeting her own sister.

Asserting her commitment to the cause, Bokhari announced the imminent introduction of a new defamation law in the assembly, refuting claims that it would be draconian. She outlined its key provisions, including a 21-day window for the accused to select hearing dates, with the judge having the authority to set dates if not chosen within the stipulated timeframe. Cases must be resolved within 180 days, with proven defamation resulting in a fine of Rs3 million. Bokhari clarified that while there would be no arrests, the fine would be obligatory.

Moreover, she assured that individuals involved in cases exceeding Rs3 million or of a serious nature would have the opportunity to present their case. Bokhari addressed concerns about freedom of the press, stating that journalists worldwide are restricted from commenting on ongoing legal matters. She invited objections to any clause of the proposed law, with a deadline for submission set by Sunday, as per the directives of the Punjab CM.

Bokhari reiterated the importance of respectful discourse, condemning the act of ridiculing individuals for amusement.

Abdullah Hussain

Abdullah Hussain is a staff member who writes on politics, human rights, social issues and climate change.