Controversial Punjab Defamation Bill, 2024 becomes a law

defamation bill 2024

LAHORE: Acting Punjab Governor and Speaker Punjab Assembly Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan has signed the highly controversial Punjab Defamation Bill, 2024, thus turning it into a law.

The bill that garnered immense criticism, particularly from journalists and digital rights activists, received the final nod from Malik Muhammad Ahmad Khan, who currently holds the position of acting governor in the absence of Punjab Governor Sardar Salim Khan, as per the sources.

The sources added that Governor Sardar Salim has gone on leave.

The Governor House has confirmed the signing of the Defamation Bill, 2024 by Acting Governor Punjab Malik Ahmad Khan. After signing the Bill, the summary was sent to the Ministry of Law which will issue a notification in this regard very soon. After the notification, the defamation law will formally come into force in Punjab and will apply to every citizen.

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The Defamation Bill, 2024 which was presented by Punjab Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman was passed by the Punjab Assembly on May 20 amid protests by the opposition and journalist community.

“Subject to the provisions of this Act and any other law for the time being in force, defamation shall be a civil wrong and the person defamed may initiate an action under this Act without proof of actual damage or loss and, where defamation is proved, general damages shall be presumed to have been suffered by the person defamed,” read the bill.

The bill will also apply to fake news spread through YouTube and social media platforms. Under the law, tribunals will be set up to hear the defamation cases. The tribunals will be bound to decide the case within six months.

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