Punjab Assembly Passes Defamation Bill 2024 Amid Opposition Protest

In a significant development, the Punjab Assembly passed the controversial Defamation Bill 2024 amid strong opposition protests. The basic purpose of this bill is to curb the spread of fake news across print, electronic, and social media platforms. Punjab’s Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman, presented the bill making the assembly session chaotic. Journalists also boycotted the proceedings to express their disagreement.

The bill targets the general issue of misinformation on social media platforms such as YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. As per the bill, defamation cases will be filed against social media accounts spreading false information. The bill includes provisions for fines up to Rs 3 million. Moreover, it establishes particular tribunals to hear defamation cases, directing verdicts to be delivered within six months.

CPNE Rejects Controversial Defamation Bill 2024

According to the bill, the high court will hear the allegations against people holding constitutional posts. Additionally, there will be government-provided legal assistance for women and transgender individuals in defamation cases through an official legal team.

Opposition Leader Ahmed Khan Bhachar criticized the bill on the Punjab Assembly floor. He stated that the opposition would not participate in passing the legislation. The Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) has also rejected the contentious Defamation Bill passed by the Punjab Assembly, bashing it as a serious assault on press freedom and calling it a “black law”.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) has also expressed serious concerns about the Defamation Bill 2024. The HRCP chairman underscored that the bill’s content and language are difficult on multiple fronts. He noted that the bill proposes a parallel judicial structure for defamation claims. Such structures often infringe on fundamental rights and other universally accepted norms of judicial justice.

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Laiba Mohsin

Laiba is an Electrical Engineer seeking a placement to gain hands-on experience in relevant areas of telecommunications. She likes to write about tech and gadgets. She loves shopping, traveling and exploring things.

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