SHC seeks status of Journalists Protection Bill

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday once again directed federal law officer to apprise the court of current status of Journalists Protection and Welfare Bill 2011. A division bench headed by Justice Sadiq Hussain Bhatti gave this direction while hearing a petition filed by Beena Khalid, who moved the court seeking whereabouts of her missing husband, Khalid Shamim 37, an employee of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB), allegedly picked up by law enforcement agencies from Malir Halt area on January.

She submitted that according media reports her husband was taken into custody by LEAs personnel at the Karachi airport in August, 2011, on suspicion of his involvement in the murder of MQM leader Imran Farooq in London.

Rasheed A Rizvi, representing a journalists union, said that disclosing the source of information would jeopardize the journalists security. He said that he was informed by former attorney general Munir A Malik that Journalists Protection and Welfare Bill 2011 was tabled in Senate and section 3 of said Bill provides that no journalist would be compelled to disclose his source and if it is necessary and in interest of national security, then, only Supreme Court can require such disclosure and it would not even make it public.

He said that DAG be asked to find whether or not the Bill had been passed by the Senate. Earlier, the bench had directed DAG to inform this court in this regard on next hearing.

The issue regarding disclosing the source of information by journalists came up, when the court wanted the journalists who reported that missing man, Khalid Shamim, was detained by the LEAs in Imran Farooq murder case, but they refused to disclose the source on the ground of media ethics.

The court had issued notice to the journalists union to submit comments in this regard. Hearing of case was adjourned till March 27.

DSP Shahrah-e-Faisal filed report regarding missing petitioner’s husband, stating that all law enforcement agencies have been issued letters to make efforts to recover missing person but their response is awaited.

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