NA committee asks NCHR to suggest changes in law on electronic crimes

Dawn

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Human Rights has requested the National Commission on Human Rights (NCHR) to give suggestions to amend the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act (Peca) 2016 to pre-empt misuse of the law.
The request was made on Monday after the committee heard a journalist, Shahzeb Jillani, who recounted his ordeal after registration of a case by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) over a tweet.
“Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are mother of all human rights. I apologise on behalf of all institutions which violated your rights and we appreciate the court for quashing the FIR,” Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, chair-person of the standing committee, said after hearing the journalist.
Earlier, Mr Jillani said he had been a journalist for the last 25 years and had returned to Pakistan a few years ago. He said an FIR was registered against him after he went to Thar to file a report about the coal project.
“As most of the electronic media and newspapers have been silenced, sometimes I use social media to express my views. I had tweeted that even Mohammad Khan Junejo (who served as prime minister from 1985 to 1988) had the courage to resist.
‘‘So initially efforts were made to lodge a complaint with the Pakistan Electro-nic Media Regulatory Authority, but later a case was registered under Peca on charges of cyber terrorism, hate speech and defamation,” he said.
He claimed that a plan was made to arrest him just after registration of a case, but it could not be carried out as he was in Thar. Later he managed to get bail from the court.
“During the hearing, the complainant failed to prove cyber terrorism and hate speech due to which they were dropped. When a hearing started regarding defamation, the court quashed the FIR as there was no proof,” Shahzeb Jillani said.

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