Fatima Bhutto fears Pak Govt. would prosecute her under new bill

February 13th, 2009 - 2:40 pm ICT by ANI  

Benazir Bhutto

London, Feb. 12 (ANI): Fatima Bhutto, the niece of the former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto, fears that her journalistic work could make her liable for prosecution under the recently presented Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance Bill.
In an article published in The Guardian, Fatima Bhutto criticized the Pakistan Government for introducing a bill that will censor Pakistans already frightened media and censured citizenry. Now, we have an actual law about to be put into place, farcically silencing those of us who are not afraid to speak. I”m almost certain I”ve assassinated some characters in the process of being a journalist, Bhutto was quoted by the Dawn, as saying.
She said the bill would make anyone liable to the death penalty if found guilty of cyber terrorism that remains to be an undefined crime and dont follow the internationally recognized standards. The government’’s vague bill threatens anyone guilty of spoofing or spamming or the character assassination of any member of state with prison sentences.
In October 2008 the government announced that the terrorism wing of the country’’s Federal Investigation Authority would be tasked with hunting down the anti-democratic forces that were circulating. Any of the articles I”ve written critical of my country’’s role in the war on terror or questioning the corruption of the state could constitute spoofing, she wondered.
Fatima also condemned newly passed national reconciliation ordinance (NRO) for guarding the guilty ruling party members in criminal cases and crippling judiciary.
Pakistan is, at present, the only country in the world run by two former criminals. The president and prime minister, Asif Zardari and Yousef Raza Gilani, have both served time in prison under a gamut of charges, including but not limited to murder, narcotics, corruption and extortion. The NRO was used to clear Pakistan’’s ruling party members of other crimes, surpassing our already crippled judiciary, and placing those in power above the law, Fatima said. Criticism of the NRO was unsurprisingly muted in the Pakistani press. Did you know that these 403 words could land me a jail sentence? I”ve spoofed, I”ve defamed, and I”ve disseminated, all deadly crimes, she added.
Meanwhile, Fatima herself fell a victim recently to alleged spoofing, spamming and character assassination by a US tabloid that linked the otherwise very correct Miss Bhutto with many years her- senior- in- age Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney. The story claimed that Clooney is all set to woo Fatima if she agreed. (ANI)

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