Defamation Bill 2024 Sparks Opposition Outcry

News Desk2 weeks ago

The opposition and journalists protested the Defamation Bill 2024, which was introduced by Punjab’s Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman, by staging a walkout from the press gallery and by abstaining from the proceedings.

The widespread problem of false information on social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube, is addressed by the bill. According to the measure, anybody who disseminate “fake news” may be sued for defamation.

Read more:23 Arrested in Punjab for Terrorist Activities

In addition, the bill calls for special courts to hear defamation charges and impose a punishment of up to Rs. 3 million. These tribunals would have to rule on cases within six months.

It further stated that the high court will consider instances involving accusations made against people who hold positions of constitutional authority.

The measure states that in defamation cases, the government will send an official legal team to represent women and transgender people.

Additionally, the government turned down a request from the press to postpone the law.

In the meantime, the bill has been rejected by the opposition in the Punjab Assembly, which has offered more than ten modifications.

On May 9, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif gave his approval to a proposed amendment that would have changed the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016 to include social media regulation.

Details indicate that the PECA Act 2024 has approved the creation of the Digital Rights Protection Agency (DRPA).

Following the Cabinet’s approval, the revised PECA Bill will be introduced in the Parliament.

According to sources, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications has explored creating a Digital Rights Protection Authority (DRPA) under PECA 2016 in order to address dynamic digital vulnerabilities. This is stated in the paper that was authorised by the Law Reforms Committee of the Cabinet.

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