IHC orders TV anchor off the air

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Islamabad High Court IHC

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC), on Wednesday, taking notice of a series of programmes where allegations were levelled against a judge of the Supreme Court, restrained talk show host Mubasher Lucman from appearing on any channel.

IHC Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui passed the restraining order on a petition filed by the Shuhada Foundation through their counsel Tariq Asad. The petitioners maintained that Lucman had launched a campaign against Supreme Court judge Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and former Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.

Justice Siddiqui observed, `It is amatter of great concern that Mubasher Lucman… has been found crossing all the limits of decency, morality and respect for the institutions and limits prescribed by the organic law of the hatred against the institution of judiciary`.

The court termed the anchor`s remarks `uncalled for` and observed that `surprisingly, neither the government nor the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) had taken any action against him` `In view of the matter, it is hereby directed that Pemra shall ensure that Mr Lucman shall not be allowed to conduct any programme on any TV channel till (a) final decision of the instant writ petition and if any channel (is) found accommodating him, strict action in accordance with the law may be taken against that channel,` the court directed.

Justice Siddiqui also directed the secretary of the Ministry for Information and Broadcasting as well as chairman Pemra to appear in person to explain, `as to whether there exists any code of conduct for electronic media and anchorpersonswho (are) found ridiculing the institutions of country such as the judiciary, army and other sensitive institutions and how many complaints have beennledagainstsuchpersons and TV channels and what action has been taken so far?` The matter will now be taken up in the last week of June.

`We will not air (Mr Lucman`s show) until the court vacates its restraining orders or the petition is disposed of,` ARY Television Director Programmes Ammad Yousaf told Dawn. `The programme Khara Such, however, will continue without Mr Lucman. We are changing the host of the show, who will host the programme during Lucman`s absence,` he said.

The petitioner`s counsel, Tariq Asad, argued that Mr Lucman`s show was prejudicial to the integrity, honour, respect and independence of the superior judiciary.

He alleged that Lucman has ignored ethical limits and was targeting Justice Khawaja and the former chief justice Chaudhry, as well as other citizens.

DAWN

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